The results of a new survey conducted by Magellan Strategies seem to contradict other recent polls on the topic of Medicaid expansion in Utah.
In the Magellan poll, conducted last week, no more than 45 percent of poll respondents favored any of four proposals once those proposals had been explained in detail.
Sutherland commissioned the poll because we wanted to see what Utah voters thought about Medicaid expansion when they were given more complete information about the costs, enrollment, and uncertainties of Medicaid expansion than provided in the previous polls.
In essence, the poll tackled the question: “When voters are informed about the options for Medicaid expansion on a level comparable to Utah legislators, what do they think the state should do?”
The voters’ reluctant answer was this: “They should probably do nothing for now and look for something better than the currently available options.”
In fact, the only proposal that had positive support was the “do not expand Medicaid right now” proposal, which was favored by 45 percent of poll respondents, compared with 26 percent opposed.
The other three proposals in the poll had more opposition than support: Traditional Medicaid expansion had 21 percent in favor, 49 percent opposed; partial Medicaid expansion had 19 percent in favor, 48 percent opposed; and the Healthy Utah plan had 32 percent in favor, 40 percent opposed.
The survey found that a sizable percentage of Utah voters are uncertain about what Utah policymakers should do, when they are given all of the information. On average, 30 percent of respondents were unsure if they favored or opposed the proposals when they were informed and asked about them in a stand-alone format.
After hearing all of the proposals described in detail, respondents were then asked to choose which plan they thought was best. The “do not expand Medicaid right now” proposal won a plurality of support with 31 percent, followed by “unsure or don’t know” at 20 percent, Healthy Utah at 17 percent, traditional Medicaid expansion at 15 percent, partial Medicaid expansion at 10 percent, and “don’t like any of the proposals” at 7 percent.
Put together, this means that only 42 percent of those polled said that some form of Medicaid expansion was the best option, compared with 58 percent who were either unsure or preferred something other than the proposals that would immediately expand Medicaid.
The poll was a landline and cell phone survey of 500 registered voters in Utah on Sept. 8 and 9. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.38 percent at a confidence level of 95 percent.