October 18, 2016
U.S. doctors slightly favor Trump, while international physicians significantly prefer Clinton
New York, NY — SERMO, the leading global social media network exclusively for physicians, released new polling data today on the U.S. presidential election (SERMO does not, as an organization, endorse any candidate). The results are striking: when asked to choose between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, 45 percent of U.S. doctors said they will vote for Trump, versus 38 percent for Clinton. Conversely, Clinton received support from 68 percent of international doctors, while Trump received only 12 percent.
Conversation among U.S. doctors reflected the tension that has shaped the race here at home, with many doctors describing dissatisfaction with both candidates. One U.S. orthopedic surgeon commented, “Of the two who actually might get elected, Trump is by far the lesser evil,” while a U.S. emergency medicine physician wrote of Clinton, “Would I have preferred Bernie? Sure, but she is the most accomplished, qualified person to ever run for President.”
The results are aligned with recent SERMO polling showing that U.S. doctors are split on whether the Affordable Care Act should be repealed, and a plurality of support for a nationwide marketplace for health insurance, a policy that Trump has cited. The sentiment is also echoed in comments – a U.S. rheumatologist remarked, “Most docs that I know prefer Trump.”
Dr. Richard Armstrong, a surgeon based in the U.S., explained the relatively close split between Clinton and Trump, “This is one of the most unusual elections in our history. Obviously Mr. Trump has tapped into a feeling that the ‘system’ is not working or has been ‘rigged’ to favor a few ‘elites’… What is unclear for physicians is what either candidate would actually do about health care. Mr. Trump promises to repeal the ACA, but has laid out no specific plan to follow the repeal. Secretary Clinton has promised to ‘fix’ what is wrong with the ACA, but not the root causes of the fiscal problems with our federal programs or the dysfunction of the private insurance industry. Healthcare will become a more prominent issue as the election approaches, but predicting how this will effect doctors at this point is very difficult.”
Dr. Linda Girgis, a U.S. family practitioner, noted a few patterns that support Trump’s lead, "The majority of doctors opposed the ACA before it was enacted, and… it has wreaked havoc on many practices, especially smaller private ones. Lots of my peers see Clinton’s plan to reform parts of the ACA as a step toward a single payer system, which we really don’t want, while Trump wants to drive down costs with more competitive insurance markets, which many doctors have supported for a long time. Many doctors think he's is the only one who can fix the broken system, but I don’t agree. He does not have a plan, and is very short sighted. The rest of the world has no idea about how our healthcare system is limping along – they just see the lunatic. Personally, I can’t vote for either of them."
The global conversation turned to the shockwaves that the outcome could send through the world. A Spanish geriatrician remarked “comments seen on TV from the Republican candidate are scary,” while a Mexican general practitioner said “American society has many [groups], like Mexicans, Argentines, Afghans etc. and always, always respects their beliefs, lifestyles, and the immigrants who helped build the country… a gut decision would put the world in serious trouble.”
As the world begins to tackle the fallout of the U.K. “Brexit” vote, some international doctors viewed Trump’s candidacy as part of a larger trend of populism taking root in Europe and elsewhere. A psychiatrist from South Africa observed, “It's easy to understand an electorate in America (as in so many other countries) sick of being lied to and misled by politicians.” One U.K. general practitioner noted, “The trouble with the electorate is that they cannot be trusted to make the right decision. A populist like Trump/Putin/Farage often can win with the most outrageous policies.”
Although U.S. and international doctors tended to prefer different candidates, neither group seemed generally upbeat about the decision. Echoing a common sentiment among international respondents, an Italian psychiatrist: “I am happy not to have to make that choice.”
SERMO is the leading global social network for physicians – the world’s largest virtual doctors’ lounge, where hundreds of thousands of fully verified and licensed global physicians anonymously talk real-world medicine, collectively solve cases, respond to healthcare polls, and earn honorarium from surveys. SERMO is also the world’s largest health care professional (HCP) polling company, conducting 700,000 surveys per year. The SERMO platform is composed of two million HCPs from 80 countries, and includes the largest U.S. physician panel in existence: over 800,000 doctors who represent more than 80 percent of the U.S. physician population. By giving doctors a private and trusted platform for open dialogue with international colleagues, and by presenting more opportunities to engage with and learn from global HCPs, SERMO is revolutionizing real-world medicine. Learn more at www.SERMO.com.