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Voters Trust Biden More on Health Care, Future of ACA, Poll Finds

September 3, 2020 by Dan McCue
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, speaks in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, about school reopenings. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Voters who plan to participate in the 2020 election say they trust Democrat Joe Biden more than incumbent Republican President Donald Trump to protect their health care options and to deal with the persistent coronavirus pandemic.

The new survey, released Thursday by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm based in Raleigh, N.C., also found widespread unhappiness with the president’s continuing to pursue litigation aimed at overturning the Affordable Care Act during the global virus outbreak.

Solid majorities said Biden would do a better job than Trump in safely reopening schools, rebuilding the economy, and developing an effective vaccine.

Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, a coalition dedicated to fighting ongoing efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, said the findings show that as Americans prepare to go to the polls, the combined issues of health care and the coronavirus are weighing heavily in their decision-making.

“That’s made health care, once again, a kitchen table issue in this election,” he said.

“The administration and its enablers in Congress are failing to do the single most important job people elect them to do — to protect the American people,” said Dach, who served as senior counselor in the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration.

“Health care is on the ballot this November, as it was in 2018. The choice, according to voters, could not be clearer,” he said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., a one-time contender for the Democratic nomination who is now among Biden’s most active surrogates, said she didn’t find the level of concern voters had over health care surprising.

“People are scared,” she said. “They have lost trust and they feel very unsafe right now,” she said.

The senator went on to discuss her own experiences in the past year, one in which her husband became seriously ill with the coronavirus, and her 92-year-old father, who has Alzheimer’s disease and lives in an assisted-living facility, came down with severe pneumonia.

“I had someone say to me the other day that the choice we have to make in November is so personal because of the things we’ve been through this past year, that the election feels so personal, and … well, it is,” Klobuchar said.

“Everyone in America knows someone or has someone in their own family, who went through what my family went through or worse,” she said. “That’s why this is so personal to people right now.

“And what they need is honesty. They need facts based on science, and, of course, they need testing, and for those on the front lines, access to personal protective equipment,” the senator continued, adding, “Instead of real solutions, what we’ve gotten from the current president is exactly the opposite of what we need.”

The survey of 885 voters from across the country was conducted on August 28 and 29.

It found that a majority of voters, 53%, disagree with those who want to strike the Affordable Care Act down, while only 31% believe it should be struck down by the courts.

In line with those findings, President Trump’s decision to pursue litigation to upend the ACA during the pandemic was rejected by the survey respondents by a 22 percentage point margin.

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • 53% trust Joe Biden to protect Medicare, while just 40% trust President Trump;
  • 52% trust Biden to protect healthcare for people with preexisting conditions, while just 41% say they trust Trump;
  • 51% trust Biden to have a plan to prevent future pandemics, compared to just 41% who say they trust Trump more;
  • 51% trust Biden to keep Americans safe during the coronavirus pandemic, while only 41% trust Trump;
  • 51% trust Biden to lead the government-wide effort to develop and approve an effective coronavirus vaccine, while only 42% thought Trump would do better;
  • 50% trust Biden more to make health care affordable, while just 41% believe Trump will do so;
  • 50% trust Biden to have a plan to safely reopen schools, compared to just 40% who say they trust Trump more.

Aside from presidential politics, survey respondents also weighed in on Congress, a majority (52%) saying they trust Democrats more with the future of their health care than Republicans.

The margin of error is +/- 3.3%. 50% of interviews for the survey were conducted by telephone and 50% by text message.

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