Idahoans favor, by a healthy majority, expanding Medicaid to provide health care for upwards of 50,000 low-income residents, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.
But they don’t like the idea of legalizing betting on horse races via special machines, finds pollster Dan Jones & Associates.
Both measures will be on next week’s general election ballot, for approval or rejection by voters.
Jones also finds that by a bare majority Idahoans don’t like the idea of allowing sports betting, which would most likely be done online.
Idaho lawmakers and governor have steadfastly refused to fully expand Medicaid as allowed under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Across the country, states that allow citizen initiative petitions (Idaho being one) are seeing groups attempt to put expanding Medicaid (the federal government’s health insurance for poorer Americans) on the ballot.
A group in Idaho was successful doing so – the petition being certified back in July.
Jones asked 641 Idahoans whether they agree or disagree with various issues, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree.
On expanding Medicaid, Jones found that 61 percent gave the issue a 4 or a 5 in agreeing that it should be done. Add those two results together and you get the 61 percent support for the ballot initiative.
Those who disagree with the issue, 1 and 2 on the scale, add up to just 20 percent.
Those who gave the issue a 3, or are neutral on it, came out at 19 percent.
Also on the ballot is an initiative that would legalize historical horse racing, using machines, at certain locations where live or simulcast horse racing occurs. via off site machines. Jones finds that 48 percent of Idahoans don’t like that idea, while only 28 percent gave it a 4 or a 5 and agree with the ballot proposition.
Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that states can allow sports betting, most likely taking place online with gamblers placing bets with legal sports books, like in Las Vegas.
Idaho has not acted on that issue, but could take it up in the 2019 general legislative session which starts in January.
Jones finds that 51 percent of Idahoans don’t want sports gambling, while 25 percent favor it.
While Republicans favor expanding Medicaid in Idaho, they don’t like either horse racing betting machines nor sport gambling as a whole.
-- Republicans like helping the poor with their health insurance, 44-32 percent; they oppose horse race machines, 49-28 percent; and they oppose sports gambling online, 55-24 percent.
-- Democrats like expanding Medicaid, 90-3 percent; they are split on horse betting machines, 38 percent in favor, 36 percent opposed; and Democrats don’t want sports gambling, 39 percent to 28 percent.
-- Political independents also favor Medicaid expansion, 68-13 percent; but they oppose horse betting machines, 51-25 percent; and they oppose sports betting online, 53 percent to 23 percent.
Jones polled 641 adults from Sept. 26 to Oct. 8. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.87 percent.