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Poll: Support for Bernie’s Single-Payer Plummets When Americans are Reminded They’d Have One Choice

The NBC News/WSJ gives Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) a slight edge over single-payer opponents, unless Americans are reminded government-run health care would give them one choice.

Bernie Sanders Protesters


Buried in the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday is a nugget on single-payer health care that is devastating for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as he pushes his $25 trillion ‘Medicare for All’ bill.

First, the poll asked Americans whether they “favor or oppose a single payer health care system in which all Americans would get their health insurance from one government plan that is financed by taxes.”

That poll question has some good news for Sanders: a slight plurality of Americans (47 percent to 46 percent) support single-payer.

Not so fast, though!

When NBC/WSJ follow up with Americans, asking them if they’d still support the plan if it “eliminate[d] employer provided health plans and there would be only one government plan,” support plummets.

  • Those who “Favor” single-payer drops 11 points, from 47 percent to 36 percent
  • Those who “Oppose” single-payer rises nine points, from 46 percent to 55 percent
  • Among those who said in the previous question that they support single-payer, one in five drops their support when asked the follow-up question

The drop-off is all the more astounding given that the poll did not detail how much taxes would go up to pay for single-payer or who would pay those taxes.