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UW Election Survey: Wyoming Residents Disapprove of Obamacare

November 1, 2016

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is decidedly unpopular with Wyoming citizens, according to results from a University of Wyoming election survey.

Results indicate that slightly more than three-quarters of Wyomingites disapprove of the act. This level of disapproval of Obamacare is nearly identical to the level of disapproval from the 2014 UW election survey, says Oliver Walter, one of the founders of the survey and former member of UW’s Department of Political Science and College of Arts and Sciences dean.

“Not surprisingly, given consistent opposition from Republican elected officials to Obamacare, 95 percent of Wyomingites identifying with the Republican Party also expressed disapproval,” Walter says.

Telephone interviews with Wyoming residents selected at random were conducted Oct. 5-11 by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center’s Survey Research Center. The relevant questions were asked of 354 respondents, resulting in a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points.

According to the survey, seven out of 10 Wyoming residents who identify with neither party disapprove of the act. On the other hand, three-quarters of Democrats approve of Obamacare.

Currently, about 22,000 Wyoming citizens obtain medical insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

One part of Obamacare allows states to expand the Medicaid program. In Wyoming, it is estimated that if the state decided to expand Medicaid, 18,000-20,000 residents could be covered by medical insurance. Adoption would bring an estimated $200 million to the state from the federal government to cover expansion. The Wyoming Legislature has steadfastly rejected expansion, Walter says.

The Wyoming election survey found that a substantial majority of Wyoming citizens disagree with the Wyoming Legislature on this issue.

“Sixty-three percent of those interviewed approved of expansion, while only 30 percent disapproved,” Walter says. “This is a slight increase in approval for expansion since 2013, when 61 percent approved.”

This difference in attitudes is not unusual in American politics, he says.

According to Walter, those who are elected as legislators do not necessarily share all the views of their constituents. They are elected for a variety of reasons, many of which have little to do with constituency likes or dislikes.

“We live in a representative democracy, and representatives base their votes on their ideologies, their political party affiliation and interest groups, in addition to the views of those who elect them,” Walter says.

Biennial surveys of Wyoming residents are conducted by UW’s Department of Political Science in partnership with the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center. The election survey was first conducted in 1972 and has been repeated before every general election.

The questions focus on attitudes toward government, contemporary policy issues, elected officials and candidates for office.


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Chad Baldwin

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Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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