In Shift, Most Americans Now Say President Should Release All Medical Records

Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump.
(Image credit: Clinton image: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock, Trump image: JStone/Shutterstock)

A majority of Americans now say that a U.S. president should release all of his or her medical information. In earlier years, those who held this opinion were in the minority, according to a new poll.

The poll, which was conducted by Gallup last week, found that a slim majority of Americans, 51 percent, said that a president should release all medical information that might affect that person's ability to serve in office, whereas 46 percent said that a president should have the right to keep those medical records private.

The new poll results are a change from the results in 2004, when just 38 percent of Americans said that a president should release all of his or her medical information, and 61 percent said that a president should be able to keep those records private, according to Gallup.

This shift in stance was especially apparent among Republicans. In 2016, 66 percent of Republicans said that a president should release his or her full medical records, compared to just 34 percent in 2004. Among Democrats, in 2016, 47 percent said that presidents should release all their medical information, compared to 42 percent in 2004. [Top 10 Ailing Presidents]

The new poll results come as both U.S. presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, have faced calls to release their full medical records. On Sept. 14, Clinton released a letter from her physician that provided details on her current health and medication, and Trump appeared on The Dr. Oz Show to discuss several results from a recent physical exam.

According to the poll, most Americans think both Clinton and Trump are healthy enough to be president, although a slightly higher percentage said this of Trump compared to Clinton. Seventy-five percent of poll responders said that Trump is healthy enough to be president, and 62 percent said that Clinton is healthy enough to be president.

However, participants' political leanings may have influenced their response to this question. Nearly all Republicans, 96 percent, said Trump is healthy enough to be president, but just 27 percent of Republicans said the same of Clinton. In contrast, 89 percent of Democrats said Clinton is healthy enough to be president, but 54 percent of Democrats said the same of Trump.

The results are based on phone interviews with 1,033 U.S. adults, Gallup said. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.