Press Release

Health Care Tops Issues Voters in Early Primary States Want 2008 Presidential Candidates to Address

Democratic and Republican voters from early primary states identified health care as the top issue they want to hear about from presidential candidates during the 2008 election campaign, a poll released today found.  Health care eclipses other important national priorities such as Iraq, illegal immigration, the economy and terrorism/security issues, according to voters from Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Health care costs and coverage were the two top specific health care issues that voters from across the political spectrum want candidates to tackle, found the survey, which was conducted by national polling firms Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner on behalf of the American Hospital Association (AHA). 

"Voters of all stripes want presidential candidates to address this key issue that touches the lives of every American in profound ways," said AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack.

Specifically, nearly nine out of 10 voters polled favored a set of changes to the health system that would include the following:

  • Providing health care coverage for everyone, with everyone; that is government, individuals, and employers contributing to the cost;
  • Making changes to make health care more efficient and more affordable;
  • Using more information technology to increase patient safety, lower costs, and reduce paperwork so that doctors and nurses can spend more time with patients;
  • Ensuring people have access to preventive care and wellness programs, so that people lead healthier lives; and
  • Improving the quality of care so that every patient receives the right care at the right time.

"The top priority for voters this election campaign is the future of health care in America," Pollack noted.  "Candidates will have plenty of opportunities over the next year to tell voters their views.  We hope that at every town hall meeting, campaign rally and political debate, the candidates talk about their plans for the future of health care in America."

To help spur discussion, the AHA will call on health leaders to ask the candidates questions about their plans to help advance health care in America.  A brochure entitled "Ask the Candidates" will be sent to hospital members and posted on the AHA's Web site at

The poll interviewed 600 likely 2008 general election voters across these four states (margin of error +- 4.0%). In addition, 400 likely GOP primary voters/caucus goers and 400 likely Democratic primary voters/caucus goers (100 per party, per state) were interviewed (margin of error +-4.9%).  An executive summary of the poll findings is attached. 

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

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