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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 06:25 PM ET, 08/28/2009

Seniors' Negative Turn on Health Care Reform

Of the several demographic and political groups whose views on health care reform have become more negative over the summer, seniors stand out for both a dramatic shift against reform and the strength of their opposition.

In the most recent Washington Post-ABC News poll on health care, those age 65 and over were more apt than their younger counterparts to call health care reform unnecessary, to say they disapprove of the way President Obama's handling the issue, and to oppose the proposed changes in general and the creation of a public option specifically.

The crosstabs below provide a deeper look at shifting views on health care among the youngest and the oldest.

Q. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Obama is handling health care?

All:
          -- Approve ---   - Disapprove -
          NET   Strongly   NET   Strongly
8/17/09   46       27      50       42
7/18/09   49       25      44       33
6/21/09   53       27      39       29

Age 18-29:
          -- Approve ---   - Disapprove -
          NET   Strongly   NET   Strongly
8/17/09   57       23      39       30
7/18/09   62       30      33       20
6/21/09   66       24      27       19

Age 65+:
          -- Approve ---   - Disapprove -
          NET   Strongly   NET   Strongly
8/17/09   35       21      59       53
7/18/09   52       23      41       36
6/21/09   49       29      41       33

Q. Overall, given what you know about them, would you say you support or oppose the proposed changes to the health care system being developed by Congress and the Obama administration? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

          -- Support ---   --- Oppose ---
          NET   Strongly   NET   Strongly
8/17/09   45       27      50       40

18-29     58       24      39       24
65 and up 34       22      59       50

Q. Would you support or oppose having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

          -- Support ---   --- Oppose ---
          NET   Strongly   NET   Strongly
8/17/09   52       33      46       35
6/21/09   62       NA      33       NA

Age 18-29:

8/17/09   61       35      38       24
6/21/09   71       NA      26       NA

Age 65+:

8/17/09   33       21      62       53
6/21/09   46       NA      47       NA

Q. Just your best guess, if the health care system is changed, do you think the quality of your health care will get better, get worse, or remain about the same?

          Better   Worse   Same
8/17/09     19      33      47
6/21/09     16      31      50

Age 18-29:

8/17/09     28      19      53
6/21/09     15      22      61

Age 65+:

8/17/09      8      42      47
6/21/09     11      37      47

Q. Which comes closer to the way you feel: government reform of the nation's health care system is necessary to control costs and expand coverage, or government action on health care will do more harm than good?

          - Necessary --   More harm/good
          NET   Strongly   NET   Strongly
8/17/09   51       35      46       35
6/21/09   58       34      39       24

Age 18-29:

8/17/09   59       28      37       21
6/21/09   59       27      39       14

Age 65+:

8/17/09   39       31      55       48
6/21/09   48       30      46       31

Q. Say a candidate for Congress supports the proposed changes to the health care system being developed by (Congress) and (the Obama administration). Would that make you more likely to support that candidate for Congress, more likely to oppose that candidate, or wouldn't it make much difference in your vote?

          -Support--   --Oppose--    No
          NET   Much   NET   Much   diff.
8/17/09   23     14    32     26     43

18-29     20      8    22     16     55
65 and up 19     12    44     37     33

Q. How would you describe your feelings about the changes to the health care system being proposed by Congress and the Obama administration, would you say you are enthusiastic about them, satisfied but not enthusiastic, dissatisfied but not angry, or angry about them?

          -- Enthusiastic/Satisfied --   -- Dissatisfied/Angry --
          NET  Enthusiastic  Satisfied   NET  Dissatisfied  Angry
8/17/09   47        15           32      50        31        18

18-29     59        13           46      39        29        11
65 and up 36         8           27      57        27        29

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  06:25 PM ET, 08/28/2009

Categories:  Health care, Health care

 
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