KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Polls: Contraception, Abortion, Health Cuts, Medicare Factor In To Voters’ Decision-Making

A new round of polls show that GOP presidential pick Mitt Romney is closing the gap with President Barack Obama in the fight for women's votes.

USA Today: Swing States Poll: Women Push Romney Into Lead
As the presidential campaign heads into its final weeks, the survey of voters in 12 crucial swing states finds female voters much more engaged in the election and increasingly concerned about the deficit and debt issues that favor Romney. The Republican nominee has pulled within one point of the president among women who are likely voters, 48%-49%, and leads by 8 points among men (Page, 10/15).

The Hill: Poll: Female Voters Give Obama An Edge On Contraception, Abortion
President Obama's contraception mandate is helping him enormously with female voters, a new USA Today/Gallup poll says. The survey found that Mitt Romney has made enormous gains with female voters — the candidates were tied among women who are likely to vote, and Obama had a nine-point lead among registered female voters. Concern over the economy has helped Romney erode what was once a sizable gender gap. But the results suggest that Obama has found two winning issues in birth control and abortion. Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have attacked the administration's contraception mandate as an assault on religious liberty. But the USA Today poll indicates that emphasizing the policy could help Obama more than Romney (Baker, 10/15).

CQ HealthBeat: Majorities Oppose Health Cuts To Trim Deficit Spending
Policy makers will be under heavy pressure next year to make health-related cuts to deal with the nation’s debt crisis, but the majority of Americans won’t be backing them up if they do, suggests a new survey by the Pew Research Center. The health-related cut that came closest in the survey to attracting majority support would require a reduction in Medicare benefits for higher-income seniors. Forty-nine percent of those polled in the Oct. 4-7 survey by the Pew Research Center expressed support for such a move. Forty-seven percent disapproved of such a change. Raising the amount people on Medicare contribute to cover their health care costs was a non-starter. Fifty-seven percent disapproved of that approach, while 35 percent approved (Reichard, 10/15).

The Hill: Poll: Obama's Lead Swells On Medicare
President Obama has significantly expanded his lead over Mitt Romney on the issue of Medicare, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. The new survey, released Monday, shows that Obama now holds a double-digit lead over Romney on Medicare, but a much narrower edge on healthcare generally. Obama led Romney 53 percent to 38 percent — a 15-point advantage — when registered voters were asked which candidate would do a better job handling Medicare. Less than a month ago, the same poll gave Obama only a 4-point lead on Medicare. The latest poll gives Obama an almost identical lead — 13 points — among likely voters. Earlier versions of the poll only included registered voters (Baker, 10/15).

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