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Poll: Narrow majority favors 'Medicare for All'

Poll: Narrow majority favors 'Medicare for All'
© Getty Images - Greg Nash

A narrow majority of Americans favors a national “Medicare for All” health plan, according to a new poll, but even more like a public option.

The poll, released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that 56 percent of respondents said they want Medicare for All, while 68 percent said they favored a public option that competes alongside private insurance. 

There is some bipartisan support as well. While most Republicans oppose both plans, 42 percent said they support a public option. 

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Among Democrats and independents, there were strong preferences for both types of health coverage plans.

The poll found that 77 percent of Democratic respondents, and 66 percent of independents, said they support Medicare for All. In addition, an overwhelming 85 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independents said they support a public option.

Democratic candidates have been attacking each other for months over which type of health plan is best. While other polls have shown sharp divisions over Medicare for All in certain states, this latest Kaiser poll shows a growing acceptance of the progressive policy.

Coming just days before the Iowa caucuses, that acceptance could be an advantage for a candidate like Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? Young voters set turnout record, aiding Biden win MORE (I-Vt.), who has long championed Medicare for All and is currently rising in national polls. 

However, a public option— like the plan championed by former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE— remains overall more popular than Medicare for All.  

The poll also found that following six months of news coverage of the Democratic presidential debates and campaigns, the public was more aware of the potential impacts of Medicare for All than they were last summer. For example, more people said they understand that a public option would keep employer-sponsored insurance, while Medicare for All would not.

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Separately, the poll found the public gives President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE low numbers on health care issues. 

Only 30 percent of respondents said they approved of how Trump is handling prescription drug costs, while 35 percent said they approved of his handling of the Affordable Care Act, protecting people with pre-existing conditions, and Medicaid.

Kaiser polled 1,212 adults; the results have a 3 percentage point margin of error.