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UW Poll: Wyoming Residents Have Mixed Views on Health Care Changes

November 18, 2014

The people of Wyoming continue to disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as “Obamacare,” according to a recent University of Wyoming poll.

Twenty-four percent of those surveyed approved of the law enacted in 2010 while 70 percent disapproved. Similar surveys conducted in previous years showed almost identical results, with 26 percent approving in 2010 and 24 percent approving in 2012.

Jim King, professor of political science at UW and the survey’s co-director, says the poll indicates that the health care law remains more unpopular in Wyoming than in the United States as a whole.

“National polls typically show about 40 percent of Americans approving the Affordable Care Act and about half disapproving,” he says. “Clearly, Wyomingites are more skeptical of the law.”

King says there is no relationship between a person’s opinion on the health care law and the quality of care available in a poll respondent’s community. Instead, political ideology and general attitudes concerning the federal government influence opinion on health care reform. He says 94 percent of self-identified conservatives oppose the health care law while 61 percent of liberals approve. Within ideological groups, individuals with higher levels of trust in the federal government are more supportive than individuals with lower levels of trust.

Wyoming residents do favor one component of the Affordable Care Act -- the expansion of Medicaid, the federal program that provides health care for people with low incomes. A majority of survey respondents, 55 percent, support expanding Medicaid while 36 percent oppose.

Once again, Wyomingites’ political ideology strongly influences their opinions, with liberals supporting and conservatives opposing Medicaid expansion. King notes that this issue played a small role in the recent gubernatorial election.

“The effect is slight,” King says, “but even controlling for individuals’ ideology and partisanship, those supporting Medicaid expansion were less likely to vote for Governor Mead.”

The statewide telephone survey of 768 Wyoming residents was conducted in October by UW’s Survey Research Center and was sponsored by the Department of Political Science, Wyoming Public Radio and the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.


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Chad Baldwin

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