PRINCETON, NJ — The 56% of U.S. adults who now say it is not the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage continues to reflect a record high. Prior to 2009, a clear majority of Americans consistently had said the government should take responsibility for ensuring that all Americans have healthcare.
Attitudes across all three partisan groups have shifted away from the view that ensuring healthcare coverage is a proper role of government, but most significantly among Republicans and independents. In September 2000, 53% of Republicans believed the government should not be responsible for ensuring all Americans had health coverage; today, 86% feel that way, an increase of 33 percentage points in 13 years. Over the same period, the percentage of Republicans believing the government should ensure healthcare coverage for all has fallen from 42% to 12%.
55% of independents currently say the government should not be involved with healthcare — an increase of 28 points since 2000.
The percentage of Democrats who hold this view is now 30%, its highest level since Gallup first asked the question and an 11-point increase since 2000 — with the largest change in opinion occurring between 2006 and 2008.
With the recent government shutdown it’s no surprise that many Americans are dissatisfied with the government. But in a recent poll from Gallup, it seems clear that the disapproval has reached a new level.
It is well known that the American government is based in a two-party system, but it now it looks like many are not so sure that is the best way to go. 60 percent of Americans now say they would support the formation of the third party. Democrats and Republicans are no longer cutting it. Since Gallup began asking this question 10 years ago, this is the highest percentage they have measured. Only 26 percent believe the two major parties are accurately representing their constituents.
Since the shutdown began we saw a rise in negative opinions of the parties, so it is no surprise that when given the option of a third party, many Americans are willing to look into that option. And this is not even a party specific finding. Both Democrats and Republicans are equally likely to see a third party as a good alternative; however, independents are much more likely to think a third party is necessary.
Clearly the dissatisfaction over the government shutdown is affecting several different areas of the American political spectrum. Perhaps this would be a good choice in order to avoid this kind of situation happening again in the future.
Those numbers an attitudes speak loud and clear, for themselves.