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Supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hold signs during an event on healthcare September 13, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In 20 States in a Row, Majority of Democratic Primary Voters Support Medicare for All Over Private Insurance

"Let's be clear: progressive ideas are winning regardless of who the nominee is," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Jake Johnson

Even as the policy's most prominent champion suffered several defeats to one of its opponents, the clean sweep for Medicare for All continued Tuesday night as a majority of voters in every Democratic presidential primary state that went to the polls—excluding those without exit survey data available—expressed support for eliminating private insurance in favor of a single government plan that covers everyone.

In Mississippi, which former Vice President Joe Biden won in a landslide over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), NBC News exit polling showed 62% of Democratic voters are in favor of a "single government plan for all." The margin was even bigger in Washington state, where, according to Edison Research data, 63% of voters expressed support for a "government plan for all instead of private insurance."

"The voters did not favor the centrist stances of the former vice president. They preferred the 'radical' ideals of the candidate he was defeating: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders."
—John Nichols, The Nation

Michigan primary voters backed replacing private insurance with a government plan 58% to 38%, Edison found, and Missouri voters favored a single government plan by a similar margin of 58% to 37%.

That means Democratic voters in 20 consecutive primary states have voiced their preference for a universal single-payer system over the costly private insurance plans that—according to the narrative crafted by the insurance industry and corporate Democrats—American voters supposedly want to keep.

"Let's be clear: progressive ideas are winning regardless of who the nominee is," tweeted Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a Sanders supporter and lead House sponsor of the Medicare for All Act of 2019. "Medicare for All is the favored policy of majorities of voters in every state, despite all attacks. Bernie Sanders, I, and our movement will continue to fight so every American gets guaranteed healthcare."

Echoing Jayapal, progressive activist Kai Newkirk wrote Tuesday night that "the trend continues."

"A strong majority of Democratic voters in every state that has voted so far support Medicare for All," said Newkirk. "We have to keep working to win the confidence of folks who agree with Bernie on policy but still think Biden is the one to beat Trump."

In a column for The Nation Tuesday evening as election results rolled in, John Nichols spotlighted that disconnect, noting that while Biden won four of six states—North Dakota and Washington have yet to be called—"the voters did not favor the centrist stances of the former vice president."

"They preferred the 'radical' ideals of the candidate he was defeating: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders," Nichols wrote.

Pointing to exit polls showing strong support among Democratic voters for a complete overhaul of the U.S. economic system rather than minor tweaks, Nichols wrote that "the ideas that Sanders has popularized were running better than Sanders himself."

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