Nearly Two-Thirds Of White Southerners Favor Expanding Medicaid

Although Republican governors in Southern states like Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida have pledged to reject Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid program — a move that will cost their states billions in federal funding and leave millions of their low-income residents without access to health insurance — new polling from Reuters suggests they may be in direct opposition with the majority of their constituents.

In a survey of low- and middle-class white Southerners, Reuters found that although this demographic group opposes the health care reform law as a whole, almost two-thirds of respondents favor the Medicaid expansion:

Overall, 54 percent of Americans — and a decisive 69 percent of white low- and median-income Southerners — opposed Obamacare, according to the Reuters/Ipsos data. But when asked about specific parts of the law, the results largely favored the president. […]

Almost two-thirds of both groups supported a central element of Obamacare: extending Medicaid — the federal-state program that covers healthcare for the poor — to families earning less than $30,000 a year. Romney and Ryan seek to cut the growth of Medicaid by capping federal contributions and shifting responsibility to the states.


This is consistent with previous polling demonstrating that Americans overwhelmingly support the main provisions in the health care reform law, despite their stated opposition to Obamacare as a whole. As Southern governors like Rick Scott (R-FL) and Rick Perry (R-TX) dig in their heels in against Medicaid expansion in their states — and Mitt Romney, who has pledged to repeal Obamacare in its entirety if he wins in November, joins them in their opposition — they may find that their resistance to providing low-income Americans with health coverage is not a very popular position among their base.