Poll: 62% “More Likely” to Vote for 2020 Candidates Backing Mental Health, Addiction Care

(Springfield, IL) –US voters are overwhelmingly prepared to back candidates in the 2020 election who “promise to do more” to support mental health and addiction treatment care, according to a new poll.

Morning Consulting national survey of 1,994 registered voters found that 62% would be “more likely” to vote for a candidate in the 2020 election if “they promised to do more to address mental health and addiction in the U.S.”

The survey, conducted August 16-18, 2019, also says 75% of Democrats are “more likely” to back candidates pledging support for mental health and addiction treatment while 57% of Independents and 52% of Republicans are “more likely” to do so, too.

“Clearly, voters heading into the 2020 elections are prepared to reward – or punish – candidates who fail to back mental health and addiction treatment services,” said Illinois Association for Behavioral Health CEO Sara Howe said. “Not so long ago behavioral health was not on voters’ political radars, but those days are over.”

Additionally, the poll finds that voters think state governments are falling short on their efforts to support mental health and addiction treatment services with 64% saying their state is “not doing enough to address addiction” and 70% saying states are falling shorting also on mental health.

“Illinois under Governor JB Pritzker has reversed the years of budget cuts under his predecessor by securing modest funding increases in the fiscal year 2020 budget,” said Howe. “But the tepid budget boost is too little to make an impression on the broader voting public.”

An Illinois “Marshall Plan” for behavioral health.

“If Illinois officials want voters take notice of their efforts and jolt public opinion, they would need to pledge to fund an Illinois ‘Marshall Plan’ for mental health and addiction prevention and treatment,” said Howe, referring to the post-World War II American aid initiative for West European countries. “Otherwise, incremental funding hikes will likely draw a collective shrug from Illinois voters or even go unnoticed.”

Methodology This poll was conducted between August 16-August 18, 2019 among a national sample of 1,994 registered voters. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Sara Howe, sara@ilabh.org 


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