Majority of New Jerseyans Support Expanding Medicare to All U.S. Residents – Polling with Rutgers Eagleton

Majority of New Jerseyans Support Expanding Medicare to All U.S. Residents

Eagleton Institute of Politics
Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Nine in 10 support idea of state-level health care program for all residents if it could be accomplished sooner than at federal level


NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (December 6, 2022) – New Jerseyans largely support expanding Medicare to provide basic health care coverage to every U.S. resident, regardless of age or employment status, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.


The latest poll finds:

  • Seventy-one percent of New Jersey residents support to some degree (51 percent “strongly,” 20 “somewhat”) expanding Medicare to provide coverage to every U.S. resident, regardless of age or employment status.
  • Ninety-three percent of residents who support program expansion would support New Jersey moving ahead with its own program to provide basic health care coverage to every state resident (68 percent “strongly,” 25 “somewhat”) if it could be accomplished sooner instead of waiting for the federal government to expand the program.
  • Support for expansion is consistent across race and ethnicity, gender, income level, education, and age.

Removing “Medicare” from the question makes no significant overall difference: When phrased as a “national program” with the description of Medicare but no mention of its name, seven in 10 still “strongly support” (54 percent) or “somewhat support” (17 percent) expansion to all U.S. residents. Eight percent “somewhat oppose” expansion and 16 percent “strongly oppose.”


Among those who support expansion, 68 percent would “strongly support” New Jersey moving ahead with its own program to provide basic health care coverage to every state resident if it could be accomplished sooner than federal expansion of the program. While 25 percent would “somewhat support” this hypothetical state health care program, two percent would “somewhat oppose” and three percent would “strongly oppose.”


“Medicare expansion has taken center stage in political and social discourse in recent years, and New Jerseyans appear amenable to a major shift in health care coverage as we know it,” said Jessica Roman, a research associate at Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP). “A solid majority of residents support basic health care coverage for all whether it’s called Medicare or not.”


Among the roughly one-quarter of New Jerseyans who oppose Medicare expansion, the top reasons residents cite for their opposition include cost (38 percent), the belief the program should not be universal or should have restrictions (19 percent), distrust in the government to handle all health care or the belief the private sector does so better (7 percent), opposition to socialism (5 percent), and concerns about a decrease in quality (5 percent).


Views on Medicare expansion are starkly divided along party lines. Most Democrats support Medicare expansion whether the program is mentioned by name (91 percent) or not (90 percent). More Republicans, on the other hand, oppose rather than support expansion whether Medicare is mentioned by name (55 percent) or not (51 percent). Independents fall somewhere in the middle – most support Medicare expansion (64 percent when named, 69 percent when not named), though not to the extent Democrats do.


“These partisan divides are not at all surprising, given how divided we see Democrats and Republicans typically are on matters regarding health care and coverage,” said Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Though we do see strong opposition among Republicans decline by nine points when the politically charged label of ‘Medicare’ is taken out of the question wording.”


Non-white residents are more likely to support Medicare expansion (77 percent when Medicare is named) than non-Hispanic white residents (66 percent when Medicare is named). This trend holds consistent when Medicare is not mentioned by name (79 percent versus 64 percent, respectively).


Although men and women support Medicare expansion at the same rate when the program is mentioned by name, when it is referred to as “a national program that guarantees basic health care coverage for all senior citizens and some people with disabilities,” women are more supportive of expansion (74 percent) than men (65 percent). 


A similar pattern emerges by income level – residents earning less than $100,000 in annual household income and those earning $100,000 or more support Medicare expansion at about the same rate when it is mentioned by name. However, when referred to as a national program with a description of Medicare’s function, the less affluent group supports expansion at a higher rate (78 percent) than the more affluent group (63 percent).


Results by age differ based on question phrasing. When Medicare is mentioned by name, young adults ages 18 to 34 support expansion at a higher rate (85 percent) than their older counterparts. However, when Medicare isn’t named, support among those ages 18 to 34 (73 percent), 35-49 (75 percent), and 65 and older (76 percent) is about equal. Instead, those aged 50 to 64, notably those approaching the current Medicare-eligible age, are less likely to support expansion (61 percent) than their counterparts. Support somewhat declines among younger residents when Medicare is not mentioned by name.


 “The above poll confirms prior data indicating that voters are supportive of an alternative to our current health care system,” said Lloyd Alterman of the New Jersey Healthcare Coalition (NJUHC).


Results are from a statewide poll of 1,006 adults contacted by live interviewers on landlines and cell phones from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points. 


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Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University–New Brunswickhas broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Megan Schumann [email protected]


ABOUT RUTGERS UNIVERSITY–NEW BRUNSWICK

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’ flagship university is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It is home to internationally acclaimed faculty and has 12 degree-granting schools and a Division I Athletics program. It is the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse university. Through its community of teachers, scholars, artists, scientists and healers, Rutgers is equipped as never before to transform lives.


ABOUT THE EAGLETON CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEREST POLLING

Home of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) was established in 1971 and is the oldest and one of the most respected university-based statewide polling operations in the United States. Now in its 50th year and with the publication of over 200 polls, ECPIP’s mission is to provide scientifically sound, non-partisan information about public opinion. To read more about ECPIP and view all of our press releases, published research and data archive, please visit our website: eagletonpoll.rutgers.edu. You can also visit our Facebook page and Twitter profile.


ABOUT THE EAGLETON INSTITUTE OF POLITICS

The Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling is a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. The Eagleton Institute studies how American politics and government work and change, analyzes how the democracy might improve and promotes political participation and civic engagement. The Institute explores state and national politics through research, education and public service, linking the study of politics with its day-to-day practice. To learn more about Eagleton programs and expertise, visit eagleton.rutgers.edu


ABOUT THE NEW JERSEY UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE COALITION

NJUHC is a consortium of stakeholders (health professionals, labor, religious groups, and other concerned citizens) that believes strongly that single payer is both economically and morally the right approach to caring for our citizens’ health.



Questions and Tables

The questions covered in this release are listed below. Column percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding. Respondents are New Jersey adults; all percentages are of weighted results. Interpret groups with samples sizes under 100 with extreme caution.


A1A     Medicare, as it currently exists, is a national program that guarantees basic health care coverage for all senior citizens, and some people with disabilities.


Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose expanding Medicare to provide coverage to every U.S. resident, regardless of age or employment status?


Note: This question was part of a split sample. Half of respondents received A1A and half received A1B.

Strongly support51%
Somewhat support20%
Somewhat oppose7%
Strongly oppose20%
Don’t know2%
Unweighted N=504
 Party IDGenderRace or EthnicityAge
 DemIndRepManWomanWhite, Non-HispanicNon-White18-3435-4950-6465+
Strongly support69%45%24%50%51%47%56%62%41%46%53%
Somewhat support22%19%18%20%20%19%21%23%24%17%14%
Somewhat oppose4%7%13%8%6%9%4%3%8%9%8%
Strongly oppose4%26%42%20%19%22%17%11%24%23%23%
Don’t know1%4%3%2%3%2%3%1%2%4%2%
Unwt N=21819190275224299197119114152116
 IncomeEducation
 <$100K$100K+Some college or lessCollege grad or more
Strongly support53%50%50%52%
Somewhat support23%20%20%20%
Somewhat oppose5%7%5%10%
Strongly oppose16%20%23%16%
Don’t know2%3%2%2%
Unwt N=216238169333

A1B     As it currently exists, there is a national program that guarantees basic health care coverage for all senior citizens, and some people with disabilities.


Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose expanding the current national program to provide coverage to every U.S. resident, regardless of age or employment status?


Note: This question was part of a split sample. Half of respondents received A1A and half received A1B.

Strongly support54%
Somewhat support17%
Somewhat oppose8%
Strongly oppose16%
Don’t know6%
Unweighted N=498
 Party IDGenderRace or EthnicityAge
 DemIndRepManWomanWhite, Non-HispanicNon-White18-3435-4950-6465+
Strongly support75%50%28%47%58%45%66%57%63%43%53%
Somewhat support15%19%13%18%16%19%13%16%12%18%23%
Somewhat oppose3%7%18%7%9%11%4%7%7%11%7%
Strongly oppose3%18%33%22%10%18%11%14%17%19%9%
Don’t know3%7%8%5%7%6%6%7%2%8%8%
Unwt N=18520210325623630617410812716392
 IncomeEducation
 <$100K$100K+Some college or lessCollege grad or more
Strongly support59%48%53%54%
Somewhat support19%15%15%19%
Somewhat oppose7%8%9%7%
Strongly oppose10%24%15%16%
Don’t know6%5%8%4%
Unwt N=215226197299

A2        In just a few words, please tell me the number one reason why you oppose expanding [match language from A1A or A1B: expanding Medicare/creating a national program providing health care coverage] to every U.S. resident.


Note: This question was asked only of respondents who responded with somewhat or strongly oppose in question A1A or A1B. Select cross tabs have been suppressed due to sample sizes lower than 100.

Cost38%
Don’t believe it should be universal/believe there should be restrictions19%
Don’t trust government to handle/believe private sector handles better7%
Oppose socialism/socialist system5%
Concerns about lower quality5%
Concerns about people abusing system2%
Find system inadequate as is/think it will be unsustainable2%
Do not want non-citizen immigrants to access1%
Oppose centralized government1%
Other15%
Don’t know5%
Unweighted N=264
 Party IDGenderAgeEducation
 IndRepManWomanUnder 5050+Some college or lessCollege grad or more
Cost44%34%45%29%39%37%39%35%
Don’t believe it should be universal/believe there should be restrictions15%19%7%33%17%19%20%17%
Don’t trust govt to handle/ believe private sector handles better7%7%12%2%6%8%6%9%
Oppose socialism/socialist system5%7%6%4%6%5%5%6%
Concerns about lower quality3%7%5%4%3%6%4%7%
Concerns about people abusing system4%1%4%1%5%1%4%1%
Find system inadequate as is/think it will be unsustainable3%1%2%3%3%2%1%4%
Do not want non-citizen immigrants to access0%3%1%2%0%3%1%2%
Oppose centralized government0%2%1%1%1%0%0%1%
Other14%16%13%16%12%17%13%18%
Don’t know6%3%4%5%8%2%7%1%
Unwt N=121112156105102159101162

A3        If it could be accomplished sooner at the state level, how much would you support New Jersey moving ahead with its own program to provide basic health care coverage to every N.J. resident instead of waiting for the federal government to expand the program?


Note: This question was asked only of respondents who responded with somewhat or strongly support  in question A1A or A1B. Select cross tabs have been suppressed due to sample sizes lower than 100.

Strongly support68%
Somewhat support25%
Somewhat oppose2%
Strongly oppose3%
Don’t know2%
Unweighted N=692
 Party IDGenderRace or EthnicityAge
 DemIndManWomanWhite, Non-HispanicNon-White18-3435-4950-6465+
Strongly support77%64%65%71%64%74%71%72%69%60%
Somewhat support19%28%27%23%28%21%24%22%24%29%
Somewhat oppose1%3%2%2%2%2%1%2%2%4%
Strongly oppose0%4%3%3%3%2%2%3%4%3%
Don’t know2%1%2%1%2%1%1%0%2%4%
Unwt N=367251350334393290181170196139
 IncomeEducation
 <$100K$100K+Some college or lessCollege grad or more
Strongly support69%67%68%69%
Somewhat support24%26%25%24%
Somewhat oppose2%2%1%4%
Strongly oppose3%4%4%2%
Don’t know2%0%2%1%
Unwt N=326312246443

Methodology

The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll was conducted by telephone using live interviewers August 30 to September 8, 2022, with a scientifically selected random sample of 1,006 New Jersey adults, 18 or older. Persons without a telephone could not be included in the random selection process. Respondents within a household are selected by asking randomly for the youngest adult male or female currently available. If the named gender is not available, the youngest adult of the other gender is interviewed. This telephone poll included 291 adults reached on a landline phone and 715 adults reached on a cell phone, all acquired through random digit dialing; 327 of the cell phone completes were acquired through one-to-one SMS text messaging by live interviewers that led respondents to an online version of the survey. Distribution of phone use in this sample is:


Cell39%
Text to Web33%
Landline29%

The data were weighted to be representative of the residential adult population of New Jersey. The weighting balances sample demographics to target population parameters. The sample is balanced, by form and overall, to match parameters for sex, age, education, race/ethnicity, region and phone use. The sex, age, education, race/ethnicity, and region parameters were derived from 2019 American Community Survey PUMS data. The phone use parameter was derived from estimates provided by the National Health Interview Survey Early Release Program.[1]


Weighting was done in two stages. The first stage of weighting corrects for different probabilities of selection across the telephone samples associated with the number of adults in each household and each respondent’s telephone usage patterns. This adjustment also accounts for the overlapping landline and cell sample frames and the relative sizes of each frame and each sample.[2]


The final stage of weighting balances sample demographics, overall and by form, to match target population benchmarks. This weighting was accomplished using SPSSINC RAKE, an SPSS extension module that simultaneously balances the distributions of all variables using the GENLOG procedure. Weights were trimmed to prevent individual interviews from having too much influence on survey estimates. The use of these weights in statistical analysis ensures that the demographic characteristics of the sample closely approximate the demographic characteristics of the target population.


A series of weight variables was computed. One weight for estimates based on the total sample (“weight”), plus separate weights for each of the split samples.


Post-data collection statistical adjustments require analysis procedures that reflect departures from simple random sampling. We calculate the effects of these design features so that an appropriate adjustment can be incorporated into tests of statistical significance when using these data.


All surveys are subject to sampling error, which is the expected probable difference between interviewing everyone in a population versus a scientific sampling drawn from that population. Sampling error should be adjusted to recognize the effect of weighting the data to better match the population. In this poll, the simple sampling error for 1,006 New Jersey adults is +/-3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence interval. The design effect[3] is 1.52, making the adjusted margin of error +/- 3.8 percentage points. Thus, if 50 percent of New Jersey adults in this sample favor a particular position, we would be 95 percent sure that the true figure is between 46.2 and 53.8 percent (50 +/- 3.8) if all New Jersey adults had been interviewed, rather than just a sample.


Sampling error does not consider other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording, or context effects.


This Rutgers-Eagleton Poll was fielded by Braun Research, Inc. with sample from Dynata. The questionnaire was developed and all data analyses were completed in house by the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP). The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll is paid for and sponsored by the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, a non-partisan academic center for the study of politics and the political process. These questions were paid for and sponsored by the New Jersey United Healthcare Coalition (NJUHC). Full questionnaires are available on request and can also be accessed through our archives at eagletonpoll.rutgers.edu. For more information, please contact [email protected].


Weighted Demographics

1,006 New Jersey adults 18+

Overall Margin of Error = +/- 3.8 percentage points


Please note: Totals may equal slightly more or less than 100% due to rounding.

  deffMOE   deffMOE
Man48%1.54+/- 5.3% White57%1.52+/- 4.9%
Woman52%1.47+/- 5.5% Black12%1.48+/- 11.6%
     Hispanic19%1.45+/- 9.2%
18-3427%1.40+/- 7.7% Other12%1.51+/- 11.8%
35-4923%1.41+/- 7.5%     
50-6429%1.58+/- 6.9% <50K22%1.45+/- 9.8%
65+21%1.64+/- 8.7% 50K-<100K35%1.44+/- 6.9%
     100K-<150K18%1.53+/- 9.0%
Democrat38%1.51+/- 6.0% 150K+24%1.44+/- 7.0%
Independent42%1.52+/- 6.1%     
Republican20%1.48+/- 8.5% Urban17%1.46+/- 9.3%
     Suburb36%1.53+/- 6.4%
HS or Less30%1.10+/- 8.9% Exurban14%1.52+/- 10.3%
Some College29%1.24+/- 7.1% Phil/South18%1.55+/- 9.2%
College Grad24%1.17+/- 5.5% Shore17%1.52+/- 9.1%
Grad Work17%1.15+/- 6.4%     

[1] NCHS, National Health Interview Survey, 2017–2019; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2017–2019.

[2] Buskirk, T. D., & Best, J. (2012). Venn Diagrams, Probability 101 and Sampling Weights Computed for Dual Frame Telephone RDD Designs. Journal of Statistics and Mathematics, 15, 3696-3710.

[3] Post-data collection statistical adjustments require analysis procedures that reflect departures from simple random sampling. We calculate the effects of these design features so that an appropriate adjustment can be incorporated into tests of statistical significance when using these data. The so-called “design effect” or deff represents the loss in statistical efficiency that results from a disproportionate sample design and systematic non-response.

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