More Americans now say it is not the federal government's responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage (50%) than say it is (47%). This is a first since Gallup began tracking this question, and a significant shift from as recently as three years ago, when two-thirds said ensuring healthcare coverage was the government's responsibility.
Gallup has asked this question each November since 2001 as part of the Gallup Poll Social Series, and most recently in its Nov. 5-8 Health and Healthcare survey. There have been some fluctuations from year to year, but this year marks the first time in the history of this trend that less than half of Americans say ensuring healthcare coverage for all is the federal government's responsibility.
Gallup went on to understate the fact that there has been a considerable drop, in the last few years. Ed Morrissey breaks it down:
Significant? I’d say. In 2006, the survey found a 69%/28% split in favor of it being the federal government’s responsibility, or more than 2-1, the apex for statists on health care. In 2007 the gap narrowed to 64-33, and when Obama got elected a year ago, it had drifted to 54-41 — still better than Obama’s eventual margin of victory.
They found that ever since America is in the "midst of robust debate on a potentially imminent healthcare reform law" support for government has plummeted, but the truly remarkable thing is that they are still totally clueless as to why this support has fallen so far:
The reason behind this shift is unknown. Certainly the federal government's role in the nation's healthcare system has been widely and vigorously debated over the last several months, including much focus on the "public option." These data suggest that one result of the debate has been a net decrease in Americans' agreement that ensuring all Americans have healthcare coverage is an appropriate role for the federal government.
The pollsters had a couple of huge oversights. First, they didn't ask any follow-up questions like: "Why are you against it?". They only asked about their general feelings about it. Also, they only focused on the difference between the Republicans and Democrats. They didn't seem to care about how independents felt. The loss of independent support is probably a huge reason why it has dropped.
Exit thought: With about 70% Democrats still hanging on to the idea of government-run healthcare but most of the rest of America disagreeing, which party is really out of the mainstream?