2022 Election Day poll: Promise for cheaper healthcare may push 4 in 10 voters to cross party lines

Gallup survey shows that Democrats far more willing to vote for candidate from opposing party if health costs were top priority.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lately it feels like Republicans and Democrats can’t see eye to eye on just about anything, but the exorbitant price of American healthcare may be the one topic we can all agree needs fixing. More and more Americans don’t care if they vote red or blue as long as it means lower healthcare costs, according to a new poll from West Health and Gallup.

As mid-terms grow closer, just under nine in 10 Americans say a candidate’s plan for lowering healthcare costs will be an important consideration in how they vote. Meanwhile, close to 40 percent of respondents (representing an estimated 100 million Americans) report they would be willing to “cross party lines,” or vote against their usual political party, if it means lower healthcare bills. This nationally representative survey polled over 5,500 Americans.

Both independents (50%) and Democrats (40%) were about twice as likely as Republicans (22%) to indicate a willingness to vote for a candidate from a party other than their own if lowering healthcare costs was that candidate’s top priority. Regarding race, significantly more African Americans (65%) and Hispanic Americans (60%) said the same in comparison to Caucasians (34%).

Even if healthcare costs aren’t compelling enough to change their vote, most Americans (77% of Republicans, 85% of independents and 96% of Democrats) still consider healthcare an important consideration in the next election. However, Black (65%) and Hispanic Americans (60%) are much more likely than White Americans (41%) to say the same.

Gallup Healthcare poll
West Health-Gallup Healthcare in America Report (Credit: West Health-Gallup)

“Our survey shows healthcare affordability remains on the ballot and that it could have a big influence on November’s midterm elections,” says Timothy A. Lash, President, West Health, in a statement. “Clearly, candidates with a plan for lowering overall healthcare and prescription drug costs and who have an understanding for how important the issue is to voters could be rewarded.”

More specifically, most Americans (86%) report candidates’ plans to lower the cost of prescription medications is “very or somewhat important” in determining their vote. That being said, Black and Hispanic Americans and older adults place greater importance on the topic of prescription drug prices. Close to two-thirds (65%) of Black Americans and 56 percent of Hispanic Americans say that issue is “very important” to their vote, while only 40 percent of White Americans say the same.

Not all that surprisingly, three-quarters of Americans (74%) consider the U.S. healthcare system unaffordable. Close to one in five even admit they or another family member had a health problem worsen after being unable to pay for treatment. Another 27 percent say if they needed medical attention or healthcare today they would be unable to afford it. Half of all respondents, which represents about 129 million Americans, express a general lack of confidence that they will ever be able to afford proper healthcare as they grow older.

“The survey data suggests that combating high healthcare and prescription drug costs is particularly motivating to voting blocs that can tip elections,” adds Dan Witters, Research Director for the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index.

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