For immediate distribution – November 4, 2009
90 % of Canadians support public health care
New poll for Policy Options examines our attitudes to universal health care
Montreal – Nine Canadians in ten remain supportive of universal health care, and seven
Canadians in ten think Barack Obama is on the right track in pursuing health reform in the United
States, according to a new Nanos Research poll conducted exclusively for Policy Options.
“These numbers are way beyond any margin of error,” notes pollster and Policy Options
Contributing Writer Nik Nanos. “There are very few, if any, pillars of Canadian public policy of which
Canadians approve as strongly as the principle of universal health care, which has been with us
since it was first adopted by the Pearson government in the 1960s.”
Fully 89.9 percent of Canadians support or somewhat support universal health care, and within
those two response groups, the vast majority, 79.9 percent or four Canadians in five, give their
unqualified endorsement, while another 10 percent are somewhat supportive. There are no
important regional variations on this theme. Unqualified support for universal health care is
strongest in Ontario (83 percent), and weakest on the Prairies (76.8).
Looking at the question of universal health care by demographics, unqualified support is actually
strongest in the youngest cohort of 18 to 29 years of age, where 82.3 percent expressed
unreserved support, closely aligned with 81.4 percent of clear supporters among the 60-plus age
group. “It is remarkable. The first demographic, the least likely to need or even think about needing
public health care, is every bit as supportive as the cohort most likely to be in need of it,” says
Nanos Research interviewed 1,005 Canadians by telephone from October 10-18, with a margin of
error of 3.1 percent, 19 times out of 20.
The Nanos Research poll for Policy Options can be downloaded free of charge from the Institute's
Web site (www.irpp.org).