1 chart shows Bernie Sanders' health care plan is the most popular in the race

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Bernie Sanders's Health-Care Plan, Explained

Sen. Bernie Sanders is losing the delegate contest to become the Democratic presidential nominee, but he's winning another major battle: According to a Gallup poll published Monday, his signature plan for overhauling the national health care system is the most popular health care plan belonging to any candidate remaining in the race.

During the survey, Gallup described three different proposals on what should be done with the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 health care reform law -- but without mentioning the candidate affiliated with the proposal. The most popular scenario was one in which the ACA was replaced with "a federally funded health care program that provides health insurance for all Americans" -- a plan that describes Sanders' ambition for reforming the health care system.

Sanders' proposal garnered support from 58 percent of respondents, with 37 percent opposed. As can be seen in the chart below, the other two scenarios -- keeping the ACA in place, which describes Hillary Clinton's position, and repealing the ACA, which captures presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump's -- trailed by many points in favorability.

One Chart Shows Bernie Sanders' Health Care Plan Is the Most Popular in the Race

Favoring one plan wasn't mutually exclusive with favoring another. Nearly 60% of Democrats and Democratic leaners said that they favored both the proposal to keep the ACA in place and replacing it with a federally funded health care plan. In other words, they backed both Clinton's and Sanders' approaches to health reform.

READ MORE: What the US -- And Bernie Sanders -- Can Learn From Canada's Single-Payer Health Care System

The key to understanding the popularity of Sanders' plan is that it garners significant support from Republican and Republican-leaning individuals. An astonishing 41 percent of them favor the idea of replacing the ACA with a federally funded plan. That's counter-intuitive, given that historically most Republicans have opposed the ACA based on the (largely mythical) claim that it constitutes a government takeover of the health care system. So why would they support a proposal that would enact what they claim to be terrified of?

RELATED: Check out some of the celebs backing Sanders

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1 chart shows Bernie Sanders' health care plan is the most popular in the race

Killer Mike of Run the Jewels 

The rapper has been very vocal within the hip-hop community about his endorsement of Sanders, and even introduced him at an Atlanta rally. 

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Danny DeVito 

In August 2015, the 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' actor took to Twitter, saying, "Bernie Sanders...you're our only hope Obi-Wan Kenobi". 

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Mark Ruffalo

Ruffalo used Twitter to share his political stance on January 17th of this year, saying, "@BernieSanders is preferred 2-1 by young people because they know his means what he says."

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Susan Sarandon 

In June of last year, Sarandon posted a video titled 'Flashback: Rep. Bernie Sanders Opposes Iraq War' along with the caption "We need a leader who is courageous and levelheaded in times of crisis:Bernie Sanders ‪#‎Bernie2016‬.

The liberal activist has since been seen campaigning for Sanders in Portland, Maine and introducing him on the campaign trail. 

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Belinda Carlisle

Back in August of last year, the lead singer of The Go-Go's tweeted, "yes, I switched teams...my candidate!" above an announcement that Bernie Sanders would be joining CNN's State of the Union. 

Ever since then she has been an avid supporter on social media. 

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Justin Long 

The 'Dodgeball' actor introduced Bernie Sanders at a campaign event in Des Moines shortly before the Iowa Caucus. 

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Sarah Silverman 

Sarah Silverman was among other celebs who headlined a fundraiser for the presidential candidate at Hollywood’s Laugh Factory on January 26th. 

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George Lopez 

After tweeting "WATCHA I Am #feelingthebern. Today I'm proud to officially endorse @BernieSanders for President" late last year, the actor has made headlining appearances at Sanders' fundraising events. 

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Spike Lee 

After citing his endorsement on a radio show recently, he elaborated on his commitment to Sanders, saying: “Bernie was at the March on Washington with Dr. King. He was arrested in Chicago for protesting segregation in public schools. He fought for wealth and education equality throughout his whole career. No flipping, no flopping. Enough talk. Time for action.”

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One explanation is simply that people aren't entirely clear on what "federally funded" means, and responses might have looked a bit different had those words been replaced with "government-run." While much of the public has been debating their stance on the ACA for years, they aren't necessarily well-versed in the details of how those policies actually work.

Most people likely look at the issue of the ACA through the broader prism of whether or not they like President Barack Obama and recent Democratic Party policies in general, rather than through complex questions of whether a particular health care model comports with their general worldview. In this sense, conservative support for a Bernie Sanders-type plan isn't as much an endorsement of his plan as much as it is a ham-fisted vote of no confidence in the status quo.

Competing proposals to "just repeal the ACA" plan and to replace it with a publicly run health care system share one thing in common: repealing the current system. Given that the ACA has failed to deliver benefits for many citizens and that outsider political candidates promising to shake up the establishment are on the rise, that kind of inchoate desperation for anything different shouldn't be entirely surprising.

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