December, 2013 – Swing District Poll Shows Strong Support for Health Care Expansion

The Maine People’s Resource Center (MPRC), an organization with the best record for accuracy in public opinion research in Maine, has released a new poll surveying swing State House districts on health care issues. The survey found that 69% of likely voters support accepting federal funding to expand MaineCare coverage to 70,000 more Mainers and 53% said they would be less likely to vote for a State Representative who voted against accepting federal funds.

The poll was conducted from December 13th through 17th and surveyed 434 likely voters in the 22 House Districts that were won by margins of fewer than 150 votes in 2012. The margin of error for the poll is 4.7%, 95 times out of 100.

“What this poll shows is that Mainers in swing districts overwhelmingly support health care expansion and that, for many of them, health care accessibility is a very personal issue,” said MPRC Communications Director Mike Tipping. “57% of respondents report that they have close friends or family members without health insurance and 45% have put off medical treatment over the past 12 months because of cost. 50% said they or someone close to them has accessed health coverage through Medicaid or MaineCare at some point in their lives.”

55% of those polled said they were more likely to trust Democratic leaders in the Legislature on the issue of health care, with 38% saying they were more likely to trust Governor Paul LePage. After being informed that Governor LePage was against accepting federal funding to expand health care coverage, 27% of respondents said this made them less likely to support such legislation, while 38% of those surveyed said his opposition made them more likely to support accepting federal funds.

MaineCare expansion passed the House and Senate in 2013 with bipartisan majorities, but a vote to override Governor LePage’s veto fell just short of the required two-thirds majority in the House. Legislators will again consider accepting federal funds to expand coverage when the Legislature reconvenes in January. On January 1st, 25,000 Mainers currently covered by MaineCare will lose their coverage.