NPR logo Health Care Played Bit Role In Voting Booth


Health Care Played Bit Role In Voting Booth

Voters line up at Los Angeles County Lifeguard Headquarters on Election Day in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America hide caption

toggle caption
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America

If, like us, you're still picking over the results of the midterm election and what they mean for health care, here's some more fodder.

The Kaiser Family Foundation's latest poll , conducted right after Election Day, found health care wasn't even close to the top of the list of things that influenced people's votes.

The crummy economy, including high unemployment, was the biggest issue, mentioned as the first or second most important factor by 29 percent of voters who talked with the Kaiser pollsters.

Next up, were the statement votes by people who were either for or against a particular candidate. Tally the pro-Obama/anti-Obama votes, throw in the same sorts of stands by party and this category was the first or second most important for 25 percent of voters.

After that, oh yeah, the candidates mattered to some people. Twenty-one percent of voters put the qualities or records of the candidates as the top factors.

Health care. We haven't forgotten about it. Put together health overhaul, Medicare and health care generally, and the whole ball of wax ranked as a top issue with 17 percent of voters.

That's about in line with exit polls that found 17 percent of voters ranked health care as the top election issue. But it came in a distant second to the economy, which 62 percent of voters said is the most pressing problem for the country.

So where do the elected officials go from here on health overhaul? The Kaiser poll results give mixed signals. Some 19 percent of people say the law is fine and leave it along. One-quarter want some of it repealed, and nearly the same proportion want the whole law undone.

As for those who voted in the latest election, 56 percent said all or parts of the law should be repealed.