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Poll Finds Florida Voters Bullish on Bipartisanship, Fiscal Responsibility
Nearly seven out of 10 say they agree with Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s approach

August 24, 2021 by Dan McCue
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.

Voters in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, a district that tends to vote Republican in local races, but has strongly supported Democrats for president and the House since 2012, are emphatically in favor of bipartisanship and a steady, prudent hand when it comes to spending their tax dollars, a new poll finds.

In addition, and not surprisingly given the district’s high percentage of seniors and retirees, a strong majority of likely voters in the 2022 election says they are very concerned about health care — specifically their access to affordable coverage.

The survey was conducted in early August by Center Forward, a Washington-based group dedicated to finding common ground and pragmatic solutions to the challenges facing the American people, in partnership with Luce Research.

The effort is part of an ongoing analysis of voter sentiments on a variety of issues in select congressional districts that will extend through the fall.

A Strong Belief in Bipartisanship

The overarching story of Florida’s 7th Congressional District is its shift over the past decade from red to purple. And no one has personified it more than Democrat Stephanie Murphy, who defeated incumbent Republican Rep. John Mica in 2016.

Since then, as a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats, she’s been a leading voice for fiscal responsibility, national defense and bipartisanship.

The Center Forward/Luce Research survey found voters in the district strongly agree with. Murphy’s bipartisan approach.

Approximately two thirds of voters (68%) believe their representatives in Congress should embrace bipartisanship and actively work across the aisle to deliver results for their constituents.

The survey found that voters aged 55-64 were particularly supportive of bipartisanship, an overwhelming 86% believing it was how solutions should be reached in Congress.

Meanwhile, just 28% of respondents said advancing bold and progressive reforms on things like health care were more important than working across the aisle.

Take a Fiscally Responsible Approach

While voters identify the coronavirus and the economy/jobs as the most important issues that need to be addressed, a majority also said they want policymakers to take a fiscally responsible approach to doing so. 

Sixty-one percent believe that the federal government needs to spend responsibly to keep the national debt and inflation in check versus 36% who believe that the federal government should spend as much as it takes to help the post-pandemic economic recovery.

Voters in the district prioritize federal spending on investments to reform health care (36%), followed closely by rebuilding roads, bridges and other traditional infrastructure (34%).

Address Voters’ Real Concerns on Health Care – Cost and Coverage

When focusing on health care specifically, voters identified out-of-pocket costs not covered by insurance (29%) and the cost of health insurance premiums (26%) as their top two issues.

Voters want Congress to focus on what matters most to them – reducing what they pay for health care. 

Approximately 70% say Congress should focus on reducing the overall costs of health care such as premiums, deductibles and copays and 25% who say that Congress should focus more on reducing the costs of prescription drugs.

It is notable that voters across the political spectrum came together on this issue, with 76% of Democrats, 63% of Republicans, and 72% of Independents all saying health care reforms should focus on bringing down out-of-pocket costs.

Protect Medicare Patients

When voters learned about proposals to eliminate the non-interference clause in Medicare, a provision that protects market competition and patient access by prohibiting the government from interfering in negotiations among insurers, drug manufacturers, and pharmacies, respondents overwhelmingly said these protections need to be maintained.

Eighty percent agreed that the federal government shouldn’t be interfering with what medicines are available to people with Medicare and that there are better ways to lower what seniors pay for medicine.

Women were especially supportive of maintaining patient protections in Medicare, with 88% saying it was critical that Congress do so.

Seventy-seven percent of voters agreed the law is needed because it protects all from government discrimination.

Advance Pragmatic and Holistic Policy Solutions

The vast majority of voters in the 7th Congressional District said they want pragmatic policies that will lower the cost of health care. Eighty-eight percent agree health legislation that Congress pursues should make patient affordability the number one goal, whether it’s the cost of [insurance] premiums and copays, price of medicines, or expense of care.

Eighty-seven percent of voters agree with Murphy that “Congress needs to require every player in the supply chain to make improvements within their own spheres. Everyone needs to be part of the solution for it to be effective and enduring.” 

There is also widespread support for policies that address cost while preserving innovation:

  • 93% support ensuring more predictability in health care so that people know how much they will pay for things like prescription drugs every month;
  • 93% support requiring health insurance companies and hospitals to pass along to patients more of the discounts on prescription medicines they negotiate with pharmaceutical companies;
  • 92% support ensuring that deductibles are lower and more affordable so that insurance kicks in earlier when you need to use it;
  • 91% support reducing what patients spend for their prescription medicines at the pharmacy counter, while ensuring continued public-private collaboration to develop life saving drugs and treatments. Seniors were most supportive of this policy, with 97% being in agreement with that approach.

Foster Innovation

Voters in the 7th Congressional district also expressed profound admiration for American innovation and applauded the role pharmaceutical companies played in responding to the pandemic.

  • 89% believe pharmaceutical companies played an important role in responding to the pandemic;
  • 87% agree that America benefits from the most innovative and capable researchers in the world, and from public-private partnership that encourages world-leading biomedical research and development.
  • 81% agree that keeping a strong American pharmaceutical industry is a matter of national security to protect us against future pandemics. Here again, seniors (age 65 and up) were most receptive to this argument, with 95% saying they agreed.

About The Poll

The poll was conducted by telephone (both landline and cell phones) between August 2-6 with a sample size of 400 likely 2022 voters in Florida’s 7th Congressional District with a margin of error of +/- 5% at the 95% confidence level. The poll was conducted in partnership with Luce Research.

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