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Clinton tops Trump on health-care policy, but terror is bigger issue for public

Hillary Clinton
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Hillary Clinton

Health-care issues — including Obamacare — could help Hillary Clinton in her bid to win the White House over Donald Trump. But they're not likely to seal the deal for her.

A new survey finds that registered voters by a wide margin say that Clinton is the presidential candidate who best represents their own views on health care — an issue that most voters say will play an important role in determining who they vote for.

A total of 46 percent of registered voters named presumptive Democratic nominee Clinton when asked that question, compared to just 32 percent who named Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation survey released Friday. The telephone survey questioned 1,212 adults and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The same survey also found that the Democratic Party had big edges — routinely in the double digits — over the Republican Party among voters when asked who is trusted to do a better job on a slew of health-care issues.

Those included dealing with the future of the Affordable Care Act, women's reproductive health, lowering prescription drugs and other medical costs, the future of Medicare and Medicaid, and funding the fight against the Zika virus.

And slightly more than half of voters said that Trump and the GOP are not paying enough attention to health issues. Just one-third of voters said the same thing about Clinton and the Democratic Party.

DonaDonald Trump, presumptive 2016 Republican presidential nominee
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
DonaDonald Trump, presumptive 2016 Republican presidential nominee

But health care, while an important issue for many voters, is not the issue that is considered most important by them in terms of determining how they will actually cast their ballots.

Kaiser's survey found that "terrorism and national security" and "candidate personal characteristics" were the most highly rated by people in affecting who they will vote for. Each of those issues were named by 46 percent of respondents as being "extremely important" to determining their vote.

Health care, including costs and Obamacare, was named extremely important to determining their votes by 37 percent of respondents to the survey. Health care was 1 percentage point behind "gun policy," had the same percentage as "economy and jobs," and was just 2 percentage points ahead of "education."

That said, large percentages of Democrats, Republicans and independents said that health care is either "extremely" or "very" important to their presidential votes — 86 percent, 71 percent and 75 percent, respectively.

When asked what health issues they wanted to hear the presidential candidates discuss, health costs were mentioned more than any other other issue — by 38 percent of respondents — followed by increasing health-care access for people without insurance, at 28 percent. The ACA was mentioned by 27 percent.

In other results, the survey found that the overall public view of the ACA, popularly known as Obamacare, is largely changed over the past month. A total of 46 percent of respondents view that health-care reform law unfavorably, while 40 percent have favorable opinions of the ACA.

Voters who were Republican were more likely to say they wanted to hear the presidential candidates talk about Obamacare. A total of 41 percent of GOP voters said that was the case, compared to 26 percent of independents and just 15 percent of Democrats.