Vast Majority of Californians Favor Governor’s Healthcare Reforms

Of course, this will generate all sorts of hissy fits from the Right wing sites, but when a poll says there’s 72 percent support for an issue, it means perhaps the right wingers ought to listen to what the voters of California are trying to say here.  from the SF Chron:

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California’s political leaders are engaged in a special legislative session on health care overhaul and state voters have indicated overwhelming support for proposals advocated by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that would require all residents to obtain health care coverage.

The poll by the Public Policy Institute of California taken Sept. 4-11, shows nearly 70 percent of Californians believe that the state’s health care system needs major changes – and the issue ranks only behind immigration as a key concern of state voters.

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed favor Schwarzenegger’s proposal, which would require health care insurance costs to be shared by employers, providers and individuals.

Mark Baldassare, the institute’s executive director, said the poll reflects a dark mood among voters, the result of bad news about housing, stock markets and a state budget battle.

The poll showed that nearly half of California’s residents say they are closely following the efforts by the governor and Legislature to make significant changes in the health care system – and more than half had either seen or heard of the Michael Moore documentary, “Sicko,” which explores the condition of the system.

The governor and state Democratic leaders in recent weeks have agreed on the need to change the system and are working to reconcile their different approaches to the issue.

The governor advocates a plan that would require all residents have health insurance – with funding provided by a 4 percent payroll tax as well as a revenue tax paid by doctors and hospitals, with other costs shared among health care providers, individuals and employers.

Democratic legislative leaders Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez and state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata oppose the requirement for mandated health insurance and advocate a 7.5 percent payroll tax to pay for their proposals to expand health insurance coverage.

The Public Policy poll shows stronger support for Schwarzenegger’s ideas.

Asked separately whether they support or oppose the ideas, 72 percent of voters said they favored a plan advocated by the governor – while 61 percent of voters said they favored the Legislature’s plan.

Baldassare said the governor has been able to sell the idea of “shared responsibility and spreading the costs around,” an idea the poll showed to be “overwhelmingly supported by Democrats and has more supporters among Republicans (than the Legislature’s proposal). That is the key difference, in terms of what he’s been able to accomplish.”

Among the other findings of the institute’s most recent poll:

— The 2008 Democratic presidential race in California remains largely stable – with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton leading the pack by double digits – but the Republican presidential race has turned into a four-way dogfight. Support for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has dropped since June to 22 percent, followed by a virtual three-way tie for second among former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson with 16 percent support, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 16 percent and Sen. John McCain of Arizona with 15 percent.

— A majority of likely voters now say they would vote yes on a term limits initiative reducing a legislator’s total time in office from 14 to 12 years, and two-thirds of those polled favor an independent citizens’ commission rather than the governor or Legislature redrawing legislative districts.

The latest poll is based on a telephone survey of 2,003 California residents – including 1,511 registered voters and 1,045 likely voters – who were interviewed from Sept. 4 to 11. The margin of error for the poll was plus or minus two percentage points overall; plus or minus 2.5 percentage points among likely voters, and plus or minus three percentage points among GOP or Democratic presidential primary voters.

 

E-mail Carla Marinucci at cmarinucci@sfchronicle.com.