Mixed Views of Economic Policies and Health Care Reform Persist

  • October 08, 2009

Public opinion is conflicted regarding the two major domestic issues of the day – the economy and health care reform. On the economy, most Americans remain optimistic that Barack Obama's policies will help, but the public expresses mixed views of the steps he has taken so far and sees no clear signs of recovery at this point.

Regarding health care reform, many of the key provisions remain popular though support for the overall package has slipped. More people now generally oppose the health care reform proposals in Congress (47%) than favor them (34%). This represents a decline in support for health care reform since mid-September, shortly after President Obama's nationally televised address to Congress on the issue.

Nonetheless, large percentages continue to support many of the essential elements of legislation being considered. Two-thirds (66%) favor mandating that all Americans have health insurance, with the government providing financial help for those unable to afford it. Nearly six-in-ten (59%) favor requiring employers to pay into a government health care fund if they do not provide health insurance coverage to their employees. A similar majority (58%) also favors raising taxes on families with incomes of more than $350,000 as a way to pay for reforms. And 55% say they favor a government health insurance plan to compete with private plans, which is largely unchanged from late July (52%).

Read the full report Mixed Views of Economic Policies and Health Care Reform Persist on the Pew Research for the People & the Press' Web site.