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Will Paul Ryan's budget cost the GOP the senior vote?
Everyone expected Republicans' Medicare-slashing plan to be unpopular with senior citizens. But a recent poll suggests it's not that simple
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) wants to slash Medicare spending, but somewhat surprisingly, seniors prefer his plan to Obama's, according to a new poll.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) wants to slash Medicare spending, but somewhat surprisingly, seniors prefer his plan to Obama's, according to a new poll.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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oters 65 and older didn't show much love for President Obama in 2008, and "that skepticism, bordering on hostility, has carried over to his presidency," say Glenn Thrush and Abby Phillip in Politico. Still, Obama's political team thinks Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) controversial plan to shrink the deficit, in large part by turning Medicare into a voucher system, might disgruntle seniors and leave them more open to the Dems in 2012. Not so fast: In a new Gallup poll, seniors back Ryan's budget plan over Obama's, 48 percent to 42 percent — Ryan's best number in any age group. What's going on?

Seniors aren't afraid of the Ryan plan: It's no surprise that young voters favor Obama's plan, says Andrew Stiles in National Review. "But the results in those older age brackets are pretty stunning — I actually had to double check to make sure they were correct." If Democrats' Medicare scare tactics aren't working on seniors, the most reliable voters, that's great news for Republicans, and our fiscal future. "Paul Ryan has done a superb job playing the ’Paul Revere of Fiscal Problems,’ and it seems that the American public is listening."
"Poll: Ryan/GOP get high marks for budget plan"

The GOP isn't out of the woods yet: "Republicans ought to be careful about declaring 'Mission Accomplished,'" says Nate Silver in The New York Times. Voters aren't really tuned in to this debate yet, and Gallup's numbers seem to reflect "the overall partisan split in the country" more than any knowledge of the proposals. And in a worrying sign for Republicans, Obama's plan is doing better than Obama himself among seniors. Older voters could still flee the GOP over Ryan's plan.
"Beware 'mission accomplished' on budget deal"

Whoever sells their plan better will win: Neither party should pin their hopes on this one poll, says Mark Blumenthal in The Huffington Post. For example, a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that only 30 percent of seniors backed turning Medicare into a voucher system. Kaiser also found that opinion of Ryan's plan is still "largely unformed, malleable, and open to persuasion." The bottom line is that either side could win, and both parties will surely be racing to sell their plan to the American people — and seniors.
"Kaiser poll finds uncertainty, mixed reactions"

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