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National Briefing

Nationwide

'Public option' backed by a majority, poll finds

October 20, 2009|Times Wire Reports

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and now wins clear majority support from the public. Americans remain sharply divided about the overall healthcare package. But majorities back two key and controversial provisions: the so-called public option and a new mandate requiring all Americans to carry health insurance.

Overall, 45% of Americans favor the broad outlines of the proposals moving through Congress, while 48% are opposed, about the same division as in August. On the public insurance option, 57% favor it and 40% are opposed. Support has risen since mid-August, when a bare majority, 52%, favored it. Fifty-six percent favor a provision mandating all Americans to buy insurance.

The poll, conducted Thursday through Monday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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