Chris wrote yesterday about how Romney is now doing more appearances with Paul Ryan, hoping that his VP candidate saves his run for the presidency in the same way that John McCain thought Sarah Palin would save him.
Well, considering Obama just surged 17 points with seniors in one month (the article isn’t clear but it seems this poll is focused on seniors in Florida), it seems Romney is having about as much success as McCain.
The irony is that Paul Ryan may actually be causing Mitt Romney’s larger problem with seniors. President Obama has been happy to tell seniors about the Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it, and replace it with vouchers forcing seniors to buy insanely expensive insurance form private insurers (and Ryan would use the “savings” to fund tax cuts for the rich).
Who wants that? Republicans do, because they don’t need Medicare. They’re rich (thus the desire to use Medicare for tax cuts). The rest of us, not so much.
The future of Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly and disabled, has become a flash point in the campaign since Romney’s selection last month of Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, as his running mate. The choice of Ryan — who wrote a proposal that would move Medicare toward vouchers as part of an overall attempt to curb the deficit — is considered a bold and politically risky move, given Medicare’s popularity.
The Post goes on to note that picking Ryan, and inflaming people over Medicare, has become far more important to voters than any dislike they have for health care reform.
But voter distaste for a Ryan-like plan may insulate Obama from the political fallout [over health care reform]. It appears that Medicare may have become a winning issue — for Obama.
Looking across the three states, voters age 50 and older tilt toward Obama on Medicare and split on which candidate will receive their vote, with 50 percent siding with the president and 45 percent with Romney.
“For Governor Romney to be president, he has to win a huge majority of people over age 50. All President Obama has to do is to split that age group. So what really matters here is that the Medicare issue corresponds to the age group that is most critical to determining whether Romney will be president,” Blendon said.
And all the GOP focus on the budget deficit isn’t having the desired effect either.
There is also a widely held public perception that changes are needed to keep Medicare sustainable for future generations. The problem for Republicans is that swelling budget deficits are not a sufficient motivator for voters. Across the three states, about three-quarters of voters say that Medicare cuts are not essential to deficit reduction.