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Poll: CA Voters Prioritize Health Care in State Budget

For COOs, government relations executives, marketing and communications professionals

As state lawmakers finalize this year’s budget, a new survey from Quinn Thomas and DHM Research has found that Californians prioritize public health and Medi-Cal over other categories of spending. The COVID-19 pandemic has elevated Californians’ concerns about investments in public health, including protecting key health care services from budget cuts.

When asked to rank the most important to protect from state budget cuts, 31% of respondents said Medi-Cal and 27% said public health and disease prevention, ahead of public education, public safety, homelessness, and transportation.

When it comes to job performance during the pandemic, the Governor is doing well (65% report he is doing an “excellent” or “good” job), as well as the California Department of Public Health (67% report excellent/good), but hospitals are considered to be doing the best job (78% said excellent or good) at managing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other key findings:

  • There remains substantial concern about seeking non-COVID medical care in hospital emergency rooms or through hospital in-patient/outpatient services. While a majority indicated they’re still willing to seek care, a disturbing percentage of respondents indicated reservations. For instance, 41% of respondents indicated they are “not too willing” or “not at all willing” to seek care in a hospital emergency room; 39% believe it is unsafe during the COVID-19 outbreak. On the question of inpatient and out-patient hospital services, 37% say they are “not too willing” or “not at all willing” to seek care currently.
  • Californians continue to be concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in their community. A total of 76% say they are “very” or “somewhat” worried and only 23% say they are “not too” or “not at all” worried about the spread. Given this level of concern, it’s unlikely that Californians will withdraw support for safety measures any time soon.
  • California households have experienced broad and negative economic impacts; 40% of survey respondents say they or someone in their household has lost a job or faced reduced income due to fewer work hours.