Healthcare reform not a dominant factor in upcoming elections, poll finds

According to a recent monthly Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, healthcare reform isn't drawing voters to the upcoming November Congressional elections.

Voters asked to name the most important issue contributing to how they will vote listed the economy first, followed by dissatisfaction with government. Healthcare reform came in third.

The survey, released Monday, also found that voters are twice as likely to say the direction of the nation as a whole is more important to their vote than any specific national issue.

According to the poll, 21 percent said their vote will turn on state or local matters and another 23 percent said they will focus more on specifics about the particular candidates.

Healthcare reform as an issue does not appear likely to drive turnout at the polls, the study found. Thirty-two percent of registered voters said the passage of healthcare reform makes them more likely to vote, while 63 percent say it doesn't affect their plans for voting.

According to the survey, views on healthcare reform tightened up in October, with 42 percent saying they have favorable views of the new law, 44 percent holding unfavorable views and 15 percent not offering an opinion.

Views of reform continue to break sharply along partisan lines, with about seven in 10 Democrats saying they favor the new law and nearly eight in 10 Republicans opposing it.

Republicans are more intense in their feelings, however, with 60 percent saying they have "very unfavorable" views of reform – nearly twice the number of Democrats who feel extremely positive about the law. Independents tilt against the law, with 49 percent finding it unfavorable and 34 percent finding it favorable, with 18 percent undecided. Both figures are similar to those found in last month's survey, researchers said.

The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, designed and analyzed by the Kaiser Family Foundation, was conducted Oct. 5-10 among a nationally representative random sample of 1,202 adults ages 18 and older, including 1,073 adults who say they are registered to vote. Telephone interviews were carried out in English and Spanish by Princeton Survey Research Associates. 

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