Bernie Sanders Supporters Poll: Revolution Support Drops As Taxes Rise, Many Sanders Voters Unwilling To Pay

Even Bernie Sanders supporters have a limit on how much they are willing to pay to make his “political revolution” a reality, a new poll shows, if Sanders were to win the presidency and actually attempt put his plans for universal single-payer health coverage and free public college tuition into effect. And that limit, the poll reveals, may be far less than the amount of money required to make those programs happen.

The new poll was conducted by the research firm Morning Consult and the online news publication Vox.com and was published on the Vox site Thursday. The poll shows that about two of every three Sanders supporters are not willing to pay significantly more in taxes to cover the broad new policy changes in his “revolution,” taxes that Sanders himself says will be essential to his new programs.

Read the Vox.com report on the new poll at this link.

Sanders proposes a system of “single payer” health insurance, a system in which all health insurance claims are handled by a single government agency, not by private insurance companies.

“All you need to do is go to the doctor and show your insurance card,” says the Sanders campaign website, describing his “Medicare For All” proposal. “Bernie’s plan means no more copays, no more deductibles and no more fighting with insurance companies when they fail to pay for charges.”

The results of the new poll appear in line with an Associated Press poll taken in February that showed 39 percent of all Americans are in favor of a single-payer plan in principle, but only 28 percent favor single-payer if the plan meant they had to pay any new taxes at all.

Sanders also says that his plan would save the average middle-class family $5,000 per year in health costs and would save businesses $9,400 per employee on average.

Bernie Sanders has said that taxes will need to be raised on all Americans to pay for his single-payer plan and other policy proposals, although he says that most of those increases would be borne by the highest earners, as he explained to CNN interviewer Chris Cuomo in the following video interview.

But the new poll found that among respondents who identified themselves as Bernie Sanders supporters, 34 percent — approximately one out of three — said they would not be willing to shell out more than $500 per year in new taxes to pay for the single payer system.

And two out of three Bernie Sanders supporters, 66 percent, said they are not willing to pay more than $1,000 per year in new taxes to bring about universal health coverage. In fact, 9 percent of Sanders supporters, almost one of every 10, said they are not willing to pay anything at all in new taxes to make the Bernie Sanders universal health coverage plan a reality.

But according to Sanders’ own estimate, the single-payer health care system would require $1.38 trillion per year in new government spending. An independent estimate put the cost up to $1.1 trillion higher than Sanders’ own estimate, or nearly $2.5 trillion per year.

Sanders plans to raise taxes on every income-earning American by 2.2 percent. He says that hike would raise taxes on a family of four earning $50,000 by $466 in the current year, including the standard deduction available to all taxpayers, according to claims made on his website.

Bernie Sanders Supporters Revolution Taxes
Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

His plan would also raise earnings taxes on employers by 6.2 percent, taxes that would drive down employee wages because companies would inevitably pass the new cost on to their employees, according to a report by the independent Tax Policy Center.

Sanders would also raise marginal tax rates for earners bringing in at least $250,000 per year.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Sanders’ opponent in the Democratic race says she wants to build on the current Affordable Care Act to move toward universal coverage. But Clinton has not proposed a sweeping, single-payer plan, instead proposing a series of modifications to the ACA, also known as “Obamacare,” which she says would expand coverage and bring down insurance premiums.


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Clinton’s supporters feel largely the same as those who support Sanders when it comes to paying taxes for a single-payer system, the Vox/Morning Consult poll showed. Among Clinton supporters, 67 percent are unwilling to pay more than $1,000 in new taxes for single-payer health coverage.

On the question of free college tuition, the results of the Vox/Morning Consult poll were similar. Among Bernie Sanders supporters, 64 percent were unwilling to pay more than $1,000 per year in new taxes to fund that element of his “revolution,” with 14 percent — one of every seven — saying they wanted to pay nothing at all for free college tuition.

[Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images]