>NJ Supports Health Care Reform Bill


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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – New Jerseyans generally support the health care reform law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama, a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll shows. While a late February Rutgers-Eagleton Poll found that two-thirds believed then that Congress should start over with the bill, 48 percent of New Jersey residents now support the law, while 40 percent oppose it, and 12 percent don’t know. Support is slightly lower among registered voters at 47 percent, with 41 percent opposing the bill.

The poll of 953 adults was conducted March 31 to April 3, with a margin of error of +/-3.2 percentage points. The poll includes a subsample of 845 registered voters.

“New Jerseyans have been supportive of some kind of health care reform all along,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “But many were confused by the process and as a result polling seemed to say they would oppose the bill that ultimately was passed. However, this turns out not to be the case.”

Not surprisingly, Republicans do strongly oppose the law, with only 9 percent saying they support it, and 83 percent opposed. The remaining 8 percent are not sure. In turn, 76 percent of Democrats support the law, and only 16 percent oppose it, with 8 percent unsure. Independents are more mixed, with 43 percent in support and 40 percent opposed, while 17 percent are unsure. Ideological moderates, regardless of party, support the new law, 51 percent to 35 percent, while 14 percent don’t know.

Support for health care reform is strongest among those with household incomes under $50,000 at 59 percent, while 38 percent of those with household incomes over $150,000 support the legislation.

“Support for this health care reform law is solid among moderates, and among people who are most likely to benefit,” said Redlawsk. “While there is significant opposition, it generally comes from those less likely to support Democrats, suggesting that passage of health care reform is unlikely to hurt Democratic candidates significantly in New Jersey.”

Opponents of the new law were asked if their opposition is because the bill is “too liberal” or because it is “not liberal enough.” Three-quarters of opponents say the law is too liberal, but 14 percent said they oppose the law because it is not liberal enough. Most Republican opponents (87 percent) say the law is too liberal, while a majority of the relatively small number of Democrats opposed (57 percent) also say it is too liberal. Among independents who oppose the law, 66 percent call it too liberal and 21 percent not liberal enough.

“Digging deeper into the opposition to this law, we see that while most opponents are driven by the belief the bill is too liberal, not all are,” said Redlawsk. “In the end, only 30 percent of New Jerseyans oppose this bill because it is too liberal, far less than it appears when the reason for opposition is not probed.”


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