Healthy Utah Poll Results

09 September 2014 Published in New Publications

healthy utah has strong support according to pollThe Healthy Utah Poll was commissioned by a group of Utah civic groups interested in gauging support for Governor Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan. The poll was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates on a sample of 623 Utah voters during May and June, 2014. The full data and methods were then shared with Notalys for independent analysis. Notalys also consulted with the Dan Jones project leader on the development of the survey instrument. This report is the first set of research findings based on the poll. Complete poll results are found in this report along with a description of methods and an analysis of the results. The poll gives a clear and compelling summary of how Utah voters see the Healthy Utah plan, particularly in comparison to other options, such as a full Medicaid Expansion.

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Key findings from the poll analysis

Widespread Support

  • When compared with the option of doing nothing, 88% of Utah voters prefer the Healthy Utah plan, and 70% prefer Healthy Utah compared to a full Medicaid expansion.
  • Healthy Utah has strong support across the state and among all demographic groups. Support is high for all age, education, race, gender, education and income categories.

No Partisan Divide

  • Conservative Republicans support Healthy Utah. Among voters who identify as Republicans, 64% of those who are “very conservative” support the Governor’s plan, while just 13% oppose the plan.
  • In general, support among Republicans is higher for Healthy Utah than it is among Democrats, since more Democrats favor Medicaid expansion.

Support for Affordable Health Care

  • About 9% of likely voters are currently uninsured, even after healthcare.gov went into effect. A majority (54%) of voters know someone who is uninsured.
  • Utahns think health insurance is very important, and, more surprisingly, 83% believe “all legal Utah residents should have access to affordable health insurance.”
  • Utah voters believe that individual responsibility is important when it comes to insurance, but they are also supportive of government assistance for those who cannot afford coverage. Of the
  • 65% of voters who agree that “individuals and families should generally be responsible for meeting their own healthcare needs,” 80% also agree with the statement that “individuals who are unable to afford health insurance should receive help from government sources.”
  • Utahns are not opposed to a federal role in health care. 71% believe it is appropriate for the state to accept federal assistance in health care.

Support for Healthy Utah Plan Features

  • A significant majority of voters are interested in the issue of health care, but only about 40% have heard of the new Healthy Utah plan thus far. When the details of the plan are provided, voters are in strong support.
  • Utah voters strongly support the individual features of the Healthy Utah plan. Respondents say that the following features of the plan make them more likely to support it than they would otherwise:
  • 59% are more likely to support the plan because it requires individuals to pay premiums and co‐pays (10% are less likely).
  • 59% are more likely to support the plan because it provides private health insurance for people with low incomes rather than enrolling them in traditional Medicaid (14% are less likely).
  • 68% are more likely to support the plan because it allows greater flexibility for how Utah spends federal dollars than allowed under traditional Medicaid (10% are less likely).

Opposed to Inaction 

  • The strongest consistency in the poll is that voters are very opposed to the status quo of doing nothing. Democrats are more inclined to do a Medicaid expansion, while Republicans support Governor Herbert’s plan. But both groups oppose the status quo. In a three‐way comparison, only 6% of the state voters prefer doing nothing.
  • If Healthy Utah is rejected by federal officials, 65% would support a new Utah‐specific solution, and 28% support a Medicaid expansion. Only 7% would favor doing nothing.
  • And, 54% of voters indicate they would be more likely to vote for legislators who support Healthy Utah. Only 14% indicate they would be less likely to vote for a legislator who supported the plan.

Poll Take‐Aways

  • Utahns are overwhelmingly supportive of the features of Governor Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan.
  • Utahns value individual responsibility, but both Republicans and Democrats are strongly supportive of a government role in assisting low‐income individuals to obtain health insurance.
  • What Utahns are against, more than anything, is doing nothing.