Poll: Dems Back Clinton On Health Care

Hillary Rodham Clinton, as U.S. Senator of New York and Democratic presidential candidate, speaks at a house party in Concord, New Hampshire, Aug. 23, 2007. AP

As Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton unveils her health care plan today, Democratic primary voters express more confidence in her ability to handle health care than in her chief Democratic rivals, Senator Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards, a new CBS News poll finds.

Sixty-one percent of those who plan to vote in a Democratic primary express confidence in Clinton's ability to make the right decisions about health care. Forty-two percent say they have confidence in Obama, while 39 percent say they have confidence in Edwards. Forty-nine percent say Clinton would do a better job on health care than her Democratic opponents.

Registered voters see Clinton's experience with a failed health care proposal as an asset rather than a liability. Sixty-six percent of all voters, and 77 percent on Democratic primary voters, say her past experience will help her to reform health care if she becomes president. Clinton was appointed by her husband, then-President Bill Clinton, to chair a commission on health care reform in 1993. Just 25 percent of all voters, and 15 percent of Democratic primary voters, say that experience will hurt her.

Fifty-two percent of registered voters say the lack of health care reform in the 1990s was beyond Clinton's control. Only 5 percent say she was "mostly responsible" for the lack of reform, while 39 percent say they do not know enough to have an opinion. In a CBS poll in 1994, 43 percent said Clinton's involvement was one reason health care reform did not pass, while 49 percent disagreed.

The American public continues to be dissatisfied with the quality of health care in the United States. Sixty-six percent are very or somewhat dissatisfied with the quality of health care in the country, and 81 percent are very or somewhat dissatisfied with the cost.

Seventy-six percent say the fact that many Americans do not have health insurance is a very serious problem for the United States.

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Americans were also asked to choose between keeping the current health care system, with insurance provided by private employers and some people uninsured, and a government-run system that provided universal coverage. Fifty-five percent said they preferred the government-run system, while 29 percent said they preferred the current system. This is an increase in support for the government-run system, which was favored by 47 percent of Americans in February.

There has been little change since last month in the race for the Democratic nomination. Forty-three percent of Democratic primary voters nationwide say they favor Clinton, while 22 percent favor Obama and 16 percent favor Edwards.


This poll was conducted among a random sample of 706 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone September 14-16, 2007. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus four percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.
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