Poll: Romney pulls even with Obama on Medicare
Remember when Democrats thought that Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan would be easy for them to tear down because of his reasonable proposal to reform Medicare? They’ve certainly tried to demagogue the issue — take, for example, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz attempt during the summer on CNN when she was educated by Wolf Biltzer.
But new polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the attacks haven’t worked, as Romney has narrowed the gap with President Obama on Medicare:
Mitt Romney has pulled even with President Obama when it comes to the question of whom voters trust on Medicare, according to a new poll.
October’s Kaiser Health Tracking poll found that in one month, Romney brought Obama’s lead on Medicare issues from 16 points down to 5, a gap that was not statistically significant in the poll.
Those figures represent the leanings of likely voters. Among seniors, Kaiser found that Romney leads Obama on Medicare by 5 points (48 percent to 43).
Kaiser found that 61 percent of likely voters and 72 percent of seniors oppose converting Medicare to a premium-support system. Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have endorsed plans to partially privatize the program, giving future seniors a fixed dollar amount to buy coverage from traditional Medicare or on the private market.
Opposition to premium support is stable among non-seniors, though Kaiser cited other research that found opinion on the issue to be “quite malleable” and disposed to “persuasive messaging.”
Voters are also moving toward Romney on who would better handle Medicaid, lowering healthcare costs and the future of the healthcare law. Obama leads on those issues by 7 or 8 points, down from 16- to 18-point advantages on each issue last month.
Ryan’s proposal would offer a competing plan different than the current “fee-for-service” model, by giving new enrollees — those younger than 55-years-old — the option of a voluntary voucher program to purchase health insurance. Nothing would change for seniors already in the system.
This is good news for Republicans as it could mean that Medicare trending away from being the “third-rail of American politics,” but the bad news is that Obama still leads Romney in the polls with just five days to go until the election.