CNN poll: 8-in-10 favor presidential exams for health, mental well-being

Americans continue to broadly support annual checkups for their commander in chief, according to a new CNN poll condu...

Posted: Jan 23, 2018 5:50 PM
Updated: Jan 23, 2018 5:50 PM

Americans continue to broadly support annual checkups for their commander in chief, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, but they are divided about how much information about his or her health a president ought to make public.

The poll finds that 82% feel a president should be required to take an annual physical examination to check the condition of his physical health. Only slightly fewer, 77%, say a president should be required to take an annual exam to check for mental conditions, such as Alzheimer's Disease or depression.

Support for mental and physical exams similar to 2004

Public divided on whether a president has the right to keep health records private

Younger Americans, women more supportive of required mental exams for presidents

The broad support for required checkups are perhaps not surprising in light of another finding in the poll: 90% say a president's health is important to his ability to do the job well, including 64% who consider it "very important."

Support for both physical and mental exams for the president are about the same as they were in polling conducted during the 2004 presidential campaign, when 84% favored annual physical exams and 79% backed annual mental checkups.

But public opinion has shifted away from presidential privacy. In the 2004 survey, 61% felt that presidents should have "the same right as every other citizen to keep his medical records private," while 38% thought presidents "should publicly release all medical information that might affect his ability to serve his term as president."

Now, Americans are about evenly divided on this question, with 48% in favor of release of health information about a president and 49% saying the president should be allowed to maintain his privacy.

That shift comes mostly among Democrats. Back in 2004, 57% of them said presidents should have the right to keep their health records private. Now, just 37% say the same. Independents have shifted by a smaller margin, from 60% in favor of privacy then to 50% now.

The poll was conducted shortly after President Donald Trump's annual physical exam, and was in the field when the results of his physical were made public at a White House press briefing last Tuesday. There was no meaningful difference between results among respondents interviewed before and those interviewed after the results were released.

White House doctor Ronny Jackson said Trump was in "excellent" health after a physical exam. He also said Trump showed no signs for concern on a short cognitive assessment. Some doctors, though, expressed concern that Trump's results indicated an elevated risk for a heart attack.

Majorities across parties said they favored requiring both physical and mental exams for sitting presidents. But Democrats were generally more apt than Republicans or independents to favor both types of exam (89% of Democrats, 80% of Republicans and 79% of independents favored required physicals; 93% of Democrats, 73% of independents and 61% of Republicans backed annual mental exams).

The poll also found some demographic divides in support for the two types of exams. While younger Americans were more apt than older ones to back mandatory mental health exams (81% among those under age 45 vs. 74% among those age 45 or older), older Americans expressed stronger backing for a mandatory physical exam than their younger counterparts, 86% vs. 79%. Women were also more likely to back a mandatory mental health exam than men, 84% vs. 70%.

The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS January 14-18 among a random national sample of 1,005 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. No interviewing was completed on January 16 due to weather conditions at call center locations. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 296745

Reported Deaths: 6783
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19731230
Hinds18881393
Harrison16780282
Rankin12787265
Jackson12643229
Lee9703161
Madison9484203
Jones8005147
Forrest7250138
Lauderdale6847227
Lowndes6033140
Lamar590980
Lafayette5747113
Washington5229130
Bolivar4620124
Oktibbeha442194
Panola432396
Pearl River4193132
Warren4138115
Pontotoc410771
Marshall404492
Monroe3993128
Union396474
Neshoba3822170
Lincoln3564104
Hancock350277
Leflore3389119
Sunflower319286
Tate303374
Pike301796
Scott295271
Alcorn292463
Yazoo290865
Itawamba290275
Coahoma282069
Tippah279565
Copiah279259
Simpson276680
Prentiss271158
Wayne254541
Leake253172
Marion252778
Covington249780
Grenada248578
Adams235078
George232445
Newton231252
Winston221979
Jasper213845
Tishomingo212965
Attala206870
Chickasaw201453
Holmes182770
Clay179251
Stone173029
Tallahatchie171439
Clarke169672
Calhoun158528
Smith153033
Yalobusha145536
Greene127933
Walthall124540
Noxubee123131
Montgomery122939
Perry122235
Lawrence120621
Carroll119025
Amite112235
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99523
Claiborne99129
Benton93924
Humphreys93027
Kemper90423
Quitman77414
Franklin76219
Choctaw69817
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62427
Sharkey49117
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 498076

Reported Deaths: 10094
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson716711387
Mobile36294737
Madison32616468
Tuscaloosa24340421
Montgomery22739519
Shelby22174218
Baldwin19873289
Lee15039157
Calhoun13832293
Morgan13753254
Etowah13390325
Marshall11448211
Houston10124264
Elmore9483190
Limestone9420138
St. Clair9022227
Cullman8984182
Lauderdale8612214
DeKalb8489175
Talladega7606165
Walker6585259
Jackson6545104
Autauga632492
Blount6236127
Colbert6001121
Coffee5264103
Dale4671107
Russell406933
Franklin399878
Covington3993106
Chilton3898103
Escambia379173
Tallapoosa3622143
Clarke344053
Chambers3431111
Dallas3422142
Pike293373
Marion288695
Lawrence284985
Winston258368
Bibb246160
Geneva240370
Marengo238857
Pickens225457
Barbour213651
Hale212269
Fayette202057
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178039
Monroe166739
Randolph164840
Washington156836
Macon147745
Crenshaw146255
Clay145954
Cleburne139841
Lamar133733
Lowndes132751
Wilcox122925
Bullock117336
Conecuh107024
Perry106127
Sumter99732
Coosa90224
Greene88532
Choctaw55323
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