GOP Voters Oppose Ryan Budget

“When your enemy is drowning, throw him an anvil.”

– James Carville

More evidence that Republicans are following Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) down a dark path when it comes to Medicare: a new CNN poll shows not even self-identified conservatives are in favor of Ryan’s scheme.

Like most recent polls, the CNN survey shows a vast majority of respondents less than thrilled with Ryan’s plan to end Medicare and replace it with a voucher system. Just 35% say they support it, while 58% say they oppose it. The majority stands opposed to Ryan’s plan across all demographic groups, including Republicans.

Among conservatives, 54% are opposed. Among current seniors — who would not be affected by the changes in the Ryan Medicare plan — a full 74% are opposed, even after they’re told that Ryan’s plan affects Americans 55 years of age and younger.

Even Republicans break against Ryan’s plan, though only slightly. Fifty percent oppose the plan, while 48% support it.

The new CNN poll comes on the heels of numbers from Democratic allies showing similar opposition to Ryan’s plan as well as hints that the continuing fight over the Republican Medicare proposal could be giving a boost to Democrats and President Obama.

The same holds true in the CNN poll. “For the first time since they won back control of the House last November, the number of Americans who say that Republican control of the chamber is good for the country has dropped below the 50 percent mark,” notes the CNN analysis.

In case you needed more evidence, additional polling has been conducted in past few days revealing even deeper animosity than previously thought.

It doesn’t take much political savvy to note that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Medicare-destroying budget plan hasn’t panned out all that well for the GOP. But a new poll out from advocates for the Democratic health care law shows that the Ryan budget fail goes even deeper than embarrassed presidential candidates and special election upsets.

Not only does the poll show huge opposition to Ryan’s plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system, the poll shows Democrats winning the credibility war when it comes to Medicare and “protecting the middle class.” And — in a jolt of good news for the White House and Democrats — the numbers show that when voters are given Ryan budget messaging from opponents, support for the Democratic health care law actually goes up slightly in response.

The poll was conducted by The Herndon Alliance and Protect Your Care, two groups focused on defending the Democratic health care law from political attack. Full details on the survey will be released later today, but an early look at the numbers suggests the political hay Democrats can make from the Medicare fight is abundant.

As previous polling has shown, voters in the new survey are overwhelmingly opposed to Ryan’s medicare plan. Here’s how pollsters described it, in what they called a “neutral description of the Republican’s proposed changes to Medicare”:

The budget proposed by Republicans in Congress would generate much of its savings by making changes to Medicare. For anyone who is now fifty-five or over, traditional Medicare benefits would not change, but for everyone else, Medicare would be turned into a voucher program. This would mean that instead of the government paying doctors and hospitals directly for treating seniors as Medicare does now, the government would provide vouchers to help seniors buy their own private health insurance policy.

The results? Just 38% support the plan and 54% oppose it. According to the groups, that opposition shoots up after voters are given some political messaging “about the substance of Republicans’ proposed changes to Medicare.”

Going deeper, the numbers show President Obama with the upper hand in more than just the Medicare fight. On healthcare, the poll shows voters trust Obama over the congressional GOP by a margin of 48-41. They trust Obama more on Medicare by a margin of 47-39.

But the most surprising numbers — and possibly the best one for Obama — are the results showing that political messaging against the Ryan budget may actually increase the numbers who support the Obama’s health care law. The legislation is enemy number one for Republicans heading into 2012, who hope to use continuing wariness about the bill to attack the president and Democrats this fall.

But after pollsters read voters an as-yet unreleased messaging about the Ryan plan, support for Obama’s health care law goes up a smidge. The number rises 3% to 45% support for the law among voters who were asked about Obama’s law following the messaging about Ryan’s budget.

The increase is not great, but it suggests a real problem for Republicans. If the numbers hold, the party could lose one of its main lines of attack against Obama and the Democrats at the same time the public’s fears about the future of health care in America shift away from concern about the Democratic law and to the plans laid out by Ryan.

The poll was conducted by Democratic firm Anzalone-Liszt and surveyed 800 likely voters between May 18 and 24. The margin of error for the results is 3.5%.

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