Healthcare still a top issue for Iowa, New Hampshire voters as primaries rev up 

A pile of buttons that read "Vote 2020"
A new poll examines primary voters' healthcare attitudes. (3dfoto/Shutterstock)

Healthcare is the top issue for the first crop of voters as the Democratic primary kicks into high gear, a new poll shows. 

Morning Consult polled (PDF) nearly 2,000 voters on behalf of the Bipartisan Policy Center to determine where they stand ahead of the primaries and found that healthcare is the top issue overall for people in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina—three of the earliest states to vote. 

More than half of those polled (56%) nationwide said healthcare would be one of their top issues when deciding who to vote for in the primary. 

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The poll found that 59% of Iowa voters, 60% of New Hampshire voters and 56% of South Carolina voters would name healthcare one of their top issues in determining who to vote for in the primary. The next highest, the economy, was favored by 43% of Iowans, 49% of New Hampshire residents and 51% South Carolina residents. 

This was especially true among Democrats, with 66% saying it was one of their top issues for 2020. More than half of independents (54%) and 46% of Republicans said the same. 

What policy changes they’d like to see, however, is where opinion is more split, according to the poll. The largest share (39%) said they support improving and building on the existing healthcare system, while 23% said they would back repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

RELATED: Podcast—What to watch in healthcare in 2020 

An additional 22% said they support overhauling the system to a single-payer “Medicare for All” approach.  

Republicans were, by far, more likely to support repealing the ACA, with nearly half (45%) backing it compared to 7% of Democrats and 20% of independents. Finding fixes to improve the existing system, by contrast, enjoyed some degree of bipartisan support with backing by 46% of Democrats, 38% of independents and 32% of Republicans. 

Democrats were most likely to support single-payer with 35% backing that approach, compared to 22% of independents and 7% of Republicans. 

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