A skirmish broke out recently between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders about the merits of single-payer health care, an idea that Mr. Sanders has long advocated.The candidates jousted about the financing of single-payer health care during theDemocratic debate Saturday night. The differences between the two candidates on single-payer health care paint Mrs. Clinton as more moderate and Mr. Sanders as more liberal (no surprise there).
The question is: Do any Democratic primary votes turn on this issue? Single-payer health care and the Medicare-for-all variant of the idea has generally been popular among the left, but not many votes will be moved by this issue alone.
Most Democrats either strongly favor (52%) or somewhat favor (24%) the general idea of Medicare for all. Meanwhile, 62% of Republicans either strongly or somewhat oppose the idea. But, as the chart above shows, even though single payer has long been a cause celebre for many on the left, just 5% of Democrats are pure “single-payer voters” who favor Medicare for all and say that the candidate’s stand on the issue will be the single most important factor in their vote. Thirty-four percent say it would be an important factor but not the most important, and 36% say that it would be just one of many factors they would consider. The poll did not test how much support for Medicare for all might diminish among Democrats in the face of arguments for and against the idea.
– The Wall Street Journal