Overwhelming support among progressives, liberals, and the entire range of Democrats makes renewed push for universal health care a powerful boost for Democratic candidates

A new statewide survey of 800 California likely voters shows that key Democratic constituencies would overwhelmingly support Gov. Gavin Newsom moving to advance his long-declared support for a state Medicare for All healthcare system, particularly by renewing efforts to secure federal health care dollars to fund it.

Newsom won his campaign for governor based in part on his bold stance in support of Medicare for All. On his first day in office, he sought waivers from the Trump Administration to make available the federal dollars spent in California on Medicare, Medi-Cal, and other federal health programs to fund a state Medicare for All system.

With the recall election looming, Caregivers and Californians United Against the Recall of Governor Newsom, sponsored by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), commissioned public opinion research among likely voters to determine whether pursuing this goal now would help or hurt Newsom. NUHW endorsed Newsom for governor in 2018 and was the first union to oppose the recall.

“Voters, particularly Newsom voters, overwhelmingly support a state Medicare for All system and show strong support for Newsom acting now to seek the Biden administration’s permission to use federal health care dollars to help pay for it,” said pollster Dr. Robert Meadow of Lake Research Partners.

See the Lake Research Partners memo.

“This is the moment to advance Medicare for All — and voters support Gov. Newsom seeking the federal waivers that will help fund it,” NUHW President Sal Rosselli said.

The survey, conducted from April 24 to April 27, shows 84 percent of Democratic voters support Medicare for All, with just 11 percent opposed. Not only is Medicare for All popular among base Democratic voters, but the survey shows that Newsom supporting it will help defeat the recall. Among voters who are initially undecided on the recall, Newsom taking action to advance Medicare for All drives voters to a “No” position on the recall by a margin of more than 5 to 1.

“We conducted this research to determine if our two immediate priorities align — defeating the recall and advancing Medicare for All,” Rosselli said. “We found not only that we can do both, but that taking bold action to seek the federal waivers needed to fund California’s Medicare for All system will help defeat this Republican-led recall.”

In recent months, two different paths towards enacting a California Medicare for All system have been debated. One proposal is for Newsom to seize the moment of a Democratic presidential administration and a Californian, who supports Medicare for All, serving in the Biden cabinet as Secretary of Health and Human Services to renew his pursuit of federal health care finance waivers as the first step forward. The other proposal is for Newsom to wait for the state legislature to pass the policy framework and state financing for Medicare for All as the first step, and then seek the federal waivers to help pay for it.

Democratic voters prefer the strategy of Newsom seeking federal funding first by a margin of 60 percent to 18 percent, while “swing” voters in the recall election prefer that strategy by more than a 2 to 1 margin.

Lake Research pollster Meadow noted that the recall is supported by only 38% of likely voters with 55% opposed. The Lake Research data also found that pro-recall voters showed much higher intensity in their vote choice and that Republicans, who overwhelmingly support their party’s efforts to recall Newsom, are more committed to vote than Democrats, who overwhelmingly oppose the recall.

“Driving forward to secure federal waivers will help fund California’s own universal healthcare system, and it will drive progressive and liberal voters to the polls,” Rosselli said. “And much more importantly, it will help close the deadly equity gap in our healthcare system. We’ve seen Californians live or die during the COVID-19 emergency based on their access to quality health care. Now, once and for all, we can achieve equity by establishing Medicare for All.”


For Immediate Release
Contact: Matthew Artz, 510-435-8035, martz@nuhw.org