A new poll released Tuesday found most Americans support one of the most controversial healthcare reform options being debated by lawmakers.
The Washington Post-ABC News poll found 57 percent of Americans either strongly or somewhat support "having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans."
Some 40 percent said they were strongly or somewhat opposed to the so-called public option, which President Barack Obama has said he favors but does not consider a non-negotiable component of any health care reform.
The prospect of a government-administered health care program faces steep opposition from many in Congress, particularly in the Senate, though House Speaker Democrat Nancy Pelosi has said any House of Representatives bill will include such an option.
The poll, which questioned 1,004 adults between October 15-18, also found support among a majority of the US population for a law that would require all Americans to have health insurance.
Obama has said universal coverage is necessary to bring costs down across the board, and 51 percent of Americans said they would support mandatory coverage, while 47 percent were opposed.
One issue on which there was broad agreement was the effect any health care reform would likely have on the US deficit, which has ballooned amid US government stimulus spending.
Only 10 percent of those surveyed believed claims that health care reform could decrease the deficit, while 68 said they expected it would increase the US deficit.
But for 31 percent of Americans, an increase would be a worthwhile tradeoff for universal health care, the poll found, compared to 37 percent, who said reform would not be worth the deficit increase.