Franklin & Marshall Releases National Poll

Member Group : News Releases

For immediate release Thursday, 9/24/09

Please find attached and below the results of the September 2009, Franklin & Marshall College National Poll produced at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA in partnership with Hearst Television Inc. Complete results can be found in the attachment or at This is the first in a series of national surveys dealing with aspects of national healthcare policy and utilization as well as government and politics. Additional analysis and commentary by senior Franklin & Marshall College faculty members with healthcare expertise will be forthcoming.

Key Findings:

1) A slim majority (51%) of registered Americans believe President Obama is doing an "excellent" or "good" job, while nearly as many (47%) believe he is doing an "only fair" or "poor" job. A large majority (74%) of Democrats indicate the president is doing an "excellent" or "good" job, versus 25 percent who say he is doing an "only fair" or "poor" job. The president’s job performance ratings among Republicans are substantially lower (13% "excellent" or "good" and 83% "only fair" or "poor") and among Independents are more divided (47% "excellent" or "good" and 54% "only fair" or "poor").

2) Half (51%) of registered Americans approve of the way the president is handling the situation in Afghanistan, while 29 percent disapprove. In addition, 54 percent say they personally favor the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan, while 36 percent are opposed.

3) A substantial number (88%) of Americans say they have healthcare coverage provided by their employer, a private plan, or a government plan such as Medicare, Medicaid, or SCHIP, and 12 percent indicate they do not have coverage. However, one in five (19%) Americans went without coverage at some point during the past year.

4) While more than three in four (79%) Americans favor healthcare reform, a nearly identical number (78%) say the current healthcare system is meeting their needs "very well" or "pretty well," leaving only 21 percent who feel the current system is not meeting their needs. Among those who are dissatisfied with the current system, cost (56%) is overwhelmingly cited as a primary concern. Americans support the president’s healthcare reform proposals over Republican proposals in Congress by a roughly two to one margin (47% to 21%). Still, a third (32%) don’t know who has better ideas.

5) When asked how the U.S. healthcare system compares to that of other industrialized nations, Americans are divided36 percent say the U.S. healthcare system is "above average," 29 percent say it’s "average," and 30 percent say it’s "below average." The cost of healthcare (18%) and the availability of health insurance coverage (19%) were significant problems for about one in five adults during the past year.

These results and the attached analyses are based on the results of interviews conducted September 15-21, 2009. The interviews were conducted at the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin and Marshall College under the direction of the poll’s Director Dr. G. Terry Madonna, Head Methodologist Berwood Yost, Project Manager Jennifer Harding, and Research Associate Brad Nankerville. The data included in this release represent the responses of 1,046 adults in the United States, and 900 of them are registered to vote. Telephone numbers for the survey were generated using random digit dialing, and respondents were randomly selected from within each household. Survey results were weighted (age, education, race, region, and gender) using an iterative weighting algorithm. The sample error for adults is +/- 3 percentage points and for registered adults is +/- 3.3 percentage points.

Dr. G. Terry Madonna
Director, Center for Politics and Public Affairs
Director, Franklin and Marshall College Poll
Professor of Public Affairs
Franklin & Marshall College
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