A new poll of likely Democratic primary voters commissioned by Make It Our UPMC reveals that concerns about the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) paying taxes are key issues in this year’s mayoral primary. Making UPMC pay its fair share of taxes was named as the top issue on the minds of 30% primary voters, including 33% of undecided voters. Overall, the unfavorable view of UPMC in Pittsburgh has increased sharply, from a 28% unfavorable score in October 2012 to 52% unfavorable in the most recent poll, with 32% of voters saying they have a very unfavorable view of UPMC.
“Voter discontent about UPMC’s behavior is growing rapidly,” said Donna Victoria, of Victoria Research & Consulting, a public opinion pollster. “And mayoral candidates should take notice that their position on making UPMC pay a fair share of taxes is a top – and motivating – issue for primary voters.” Voters also assert that they will base their mayoral vote on candidates’ pledging to find a way to ensure UPMC pays its fair share. Seventy-five percent of likely voters, including 64% of undecided voters, say their vote will be motivated by such a pledge.
The poll also offers new insight into what is shaping voter opinions of UPMC. When asked about their biggest concerns with UPMC, voters responded that UPMC was a bully with too much power (32%), that UPMC doesn’t pay taxes or contribute to Pittsburgh (31%), and that UPMC charges excessive prices to patients (16%).
Seventy percent of voters say it is important that UPMC put patients ahead of profit, but 58% do not believe this is the way UPMC is conducting business. Fifty-four percent of respondents do not think UPMC charges reasonable prices; and 50 percent do not think UPMC is a “good corporate citizen” in Pittsburgh.
“Treating employees fairly” was the second-most common answer (34%) from voters on what they feel is the most important quality for a major healthcare institution. The poll indicates that fewer than one-third of respondents think that UPMC does treat its employees fairly and 39 percent of voters do not. The poll also finds that 73 percent of respondents support the right of UPMC employees to join a union for reasons ranging from giving employees a voice on the job, better wages and general support of unions.
Full polling results are available at: http://victoriaresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/UPMCinPGHPrimary_mmoFinal_Victoria-Research2.pdf