2008 Primaries: Health and Research Key Issues for Voters

New Voter Guide on Health and Research: Your Candidates-Your Health
Thursday, December 27, 2007

WASHINGTON—Dec. 27, 2007—Health-related research and health issues overall are priorities for voters in upcoming primaries for the 2008 elections, according to a new national opinion poll. The poll was commissioned by Research!America and 27 other organizations for Your Candidates-Your Health: 2008 Presidential Primaries, a non-partisan voter education initiative.

While health care has been widely discussed as a campaign issue, this poll of 800 registered voters suggests that health research and related issues are also significant factors in voters' minds:

  • 82% of Americans say they are more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports increased funding for research to improve health, and 69% are more likely to vote for a candidate who strongly supports federal spending for medical, health and scientific research;
  • More than half (55%) are dissatisfied with the quality of health care in America, and 72% are dissatisfied with the cost of health care;
  • Nearly half (45%) think we must increase investment in the National Institutes of Health as a critical strategy to improve health care, and a majority (54%) think funding should be increased for core programs at CDC to improve public health.

"These findings send a clear message that voters care very much about health research as a part of health care issues generally," says Mary Woolley, Research!America president. "To better inform voters about presidential candidates' views on health and health research, and to help candidates clearly convey their positions, we created Your Candidates-Your Health: 2008 for the presidential primaries."

Research!America and its partners in Your Candidates-Your Health: 2008 Presidential Primaries invited all presidential candidates to answer 17 questions about health, research and related issues. The opinion poll posed similar questions to the public. Candidates' responses and the poll results are available in an easy-to-use online voter guide at www.yourcandidatesyourhealth.org, along with ways for voters to contact each candidate.

Among other findings from the poll, a strong majority of Americans (81%) think our health care system should be redesigned to encourage prevention of illness. Woolley says this approach could be highly effective in improving overall health and reducing the economic burden of poor health.

"Americans would be well served by encouraging providers and patients to focus on prevention strategies," Woolley says. "A significant amount of time and health care dollars are spent focusing on disease only after symptoms are apparent, instead of finding new ways to avoid disease through better preventive measures."

The national public opinion poll was conducted by Charlton Research Company. The poll was conducted by telephone (random-digit dialing) with a sample of 800 registered voters and a margin of error of ±3.5 percent.

See www.yourcandidatesyourhealth.org for complete poll results and a full list of partner organizations behind the initiative.

About Research!America
Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research! America is supported by more than 500 member organizations that represent the voices of 125 million Americans. For more information, see www.researchamerica.org.

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The capabilities are enormous, a little bit of research can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
Paul D’ Addario, retinitis pigmentosa patient