Poll finds partisan divide on health care

Poll finds partisan divide on health care

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A new poll finds that a majority of Utah residents support the ideas of health care reform moving through Congress -- until the bills are associated with the Democratic Party.

"This really shows how the word 'Democratic' is a cue in Utah," said Kelly Patterson, a political science professor at Brigham Young University.

According to the Deseret News/KSL TV poll published in a copyright story in Sunday's editions, more than half of the people surveyed either strongly or somewhat supported the major points included in the health care proposals that are under debate. But when asked what they thought about the Democrats' health care bill that has passed the House, two-thirds said they opposed the measure.

Dan Jones, whose company Dan Jones & Associates conducted the survey, said the pollsters asked four questions on the major points included in the Democrats' and President Barack Obama's health care proposals. The questions did not mention either political party.

When the questions shifted to Democrats' health care bill that has passed the House, the results were dramatically different.

Jones said the poll is an indication how much confusion there is over the complex issue.

"People want comprehensive health care," Jones said. "They believe it is a fundamental right, but they are not that knowledgeable about the specific plans or the current bills."

Patterson said it's also an indicator of where Utah's political loyalties lie -- if there was any question.

"But put the word Democratic into the issue, and you inject a word many Utahns" don't like, Patterson said. "This is why it was so important to have a bipartisan effort."

All three of Utah's U.S. representatives voted against the House bill, including Rep. Jim Matheson, the state's only Democratic member of Congress.

The poll of 408 Utah residents was conducted Nov. 19-23 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.


Information from: Deseret News

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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