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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 348496

Reported Deaths: 7556
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24427446
DeSoto23439283
Harrison21066330
Rankin15704292
Jackson15597252
Madison11114227
Lee10855179
Jones9181169
Forrest8960160
Lauderdale8008244
Lamar719489
Lowndes7167151
Lafayette6604125
Washington5629140
Pearl River5336153
Oktibbeha500998
Bolivar4989134
Warren4803128
Panola4801112
Marshall4725106
Pontotoc451473
Hancock438088
Union437179
Monroe4361137
Neshoba4351181
Lincoln4212116
Pike3711113
Leflore3668125
Tate354688
Alcorn353974
Sunflower350794
Adams345388
Scott344676
Yazoo342476
Copiah329868
Simpson325191
Itawamba316780
Coahoma314985
Tippah312568
Prentiss301863
Covington300184
Marion288681
Leake287875
Wayne280043
George276751
Grenada271388
Newton265964
Tishomingo240370
Winston237884
Stone234138
Jasper233148
Attala228173
Chickasaw220860
Holmes202274
Clay201154
Clarke188180
Tallahatchie185442
Calhoun183032
Smith182635
Yalobusha173141
Walthall149049
Lawrence145226
Greene141835
Amite138643
Noxubee136735
Perry135638
Montgomery133744
Carroll126831
Webster122632
Jefferson Davis118734
Tunica115827
Benton107225
Claiborne105731
Kemper103529
Humphreys101733
Franklin88324
Quitman85619
Choctaw82819
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson71928
Sharkey51818
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 589110

Reported Deaths: 11536
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson856031591
Mobile49268864
Madison37603533
Shelby27362257
Tuscaloosa27208465
Montgomery26252627
Baldwin25567329
Lee17260181
Calhoun15429334
Morgan15199291
Etowah14981370
Marshall13136235
Houston12112293
Elmore10946219
St. Clair10793252
Limestone10750158
Cullman10566205
Lauderdale10266254
DeKalb9517192
Talladega8972188
Walker7817288
Autauga7585114
Jackson7406117
Blount7382139
Colbert6721142
Coffee6382132
Dale5673117
Russell481343
Chilton4785117
Covington4763125
Franklin459081
Tallapoosa4525156
Escambia443883
Chambers3968125
Dallas3749163
Clarke371663
Marion3465107
Pike333079
Lawrence3267100
Winston299373
Bibb290965
Geneva285983
Marengo262767
Barbour252061
Pickens245762
Butler241472
Hale235978
Fayette227265
Henry214845
Monroe203041
Randolph201944
Cherokee199548
Washington185239
Macon170752
Crenshaw169458
Clay166559
Cleburne161545
Lamar151238
Lowndes145855
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa118429
Perry110828
Sumter110433
Greene99137
Choctaw64425
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