2020 ELECTIONS

Nearly 3 in 10 Debate-Watching Voters Think It’s Inaccurate to Say Trump Wants to Cut ACA’s Health Coverage

Polling comes after Trump said at debate that he wants to “terminate” ACA

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on stage after the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University on Oct. 22, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
  • 63% of voters who watched the debate say Trump wants to cut health coverage guaranteed by the ACA, while 28% say he doesn’t.

  • Voters trust Biden over Trump on health care, 56% to 35%.

President Donald Trump said at the final presidential debate Thursday that he wants to “terminate” Obamacare, but in a Morning Consult/Politico poll conducted Friday, 28 percent of voters who watched the debate said it’s inaccurate that the president wants to cut health care coverage guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act.

Trump’s comments came after debate moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News asked Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden how they would handle health care coverage if the Supreme Court invalidates the entire ACA in a lawsuit backed by the Trump administration. Trump said he would offer a “brand new, beautiful health care” replacement plan once the law falls and said he would protect health coverage for pre-existing conditions, though these protections are already enshrined in law through the ACA, and Trump has repeatedly promised a replacement plan that has yet to surface.

Even so, 53 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of Democrats who watched the debate said it was “not too accurate” or “not accurate at all” that Trump wants to revoke coverage guaranteed by the health law, according to the poll, which was conducted among 1,163 registered voters who watched the debate and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Meanwhile, 86 percent of Democrats said it’s very or somewhat accurate that Trump wants to cut coverage guaranteed by the ACA, compared with 35 percent of debate-watching Republican voters. Six percent of Democrats and 11 percent of Republicans didn’t know or had no opinion.

Three in 5 independents said it’s accurate to suggest Trump wants to cut ACA-guaranteed coverage, while 27 percent said it isn’t and 12 percent didn’t know or had no opinion.

The divide over coverage protections is reflected in the broader partisan split on health care. Overall, voters trust Biden over Trump by 56 percent to 35 percent to handle health care based on what they saw or heard during the debate, the poll found, though 91 percent of Democrats who watched the debate said they trust Biden and 79 percent of Republicans said Trump. Based on the debate, 52 percent of independents said they trust Biden on health care versus 29 percent who said the same for Trump.

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