CNN Poll: Majority gives thumbs down to Ryan plan
June 1st, 2011
01:44 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority gives thumbs down to Ryan plan

Washington (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans don't like what they've heard so far about congressional Republicans' plans to change Medicare.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, a majority also don't think the GOP has cooperated enough with President Barack Obama and, 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.

The poll indicates that 58 percent of the public opposes the Republican plan on Medicare, with 35 percent saying they support the proposal. The survey's Wednesday release comes as the president met with House Republicans to discuss, among other things, Medicare reform.

The House Republican 2012 budget, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, passed the chamber in April without a single Democratic vote and included a proposal to overhaul Medicare. Under the plan, the government would no longer directly pay medical costs for those 55 and younger, but instead would offer subsidies for seniors to use to get private health insurance coverage.

"Half of those we questioned say that the country would be worse off under the GOP Medicare proposals and 56 percent think that GOP plan would be bad for the elderly," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Opposition is highest among senior citizens, at 74 percent, suggesting that seniors are most worried about changes to Medicare even if those changes are presented as ones that would not affect existing Medicare recipients."

"A majority of all demographic groups don't favor the GOP Medicare proposals," Holland adds. "That includes conservatives - 54 percent of them don't like the plan. As a result, rank-and-file Republicans are split right down the middle, with 48 percent favoring the GOP plan and 50 percent opposed."

The poll is another sign that the House Republicans’ Medicare proposal could be politically damaging to the party. Last week the Democrats won a special election to fill a vacant House seat in New York's 26th congressional district, which the GOP held for over a generation. The Ryan Medicare plan became a major issue in the race, with both the Democratic and Republican candidates, the party committees and outside organizations spending millions of dollars to run ads that focused on Medicare.

Democrats say their victory is proof the House GOP plan is unpopular with Americans, and see the results in New York 26 as a testing ground for next year's elections. But national Republicans disagree, saying the reason they lost the contest was due to the inclusion of the third party candidate, a former Democrat who ran as a so-called tea party candidate.

Last year, GOP leaders repeatedly attacked the health care reform law pushed through by Obama and congressional Democrats, arguing that it would weaken Medicare. Republican congressional candidates crushed their Democratic counterparts among voters age 65 and older in the midterms, carrying seniors by a 21-point margin, which helped the GOP win back the House with a 63-seat net gain.

Has the debate over Medicare made the public regret the outcome of the 2010 midterm elections, which put the GOP in charge of the U.S. House?

"Overall, a plurality still says that GOP control of the House is good for the country, but the margin on that question has narrowed from a 52 to 39 percent margin in November to just a 48 to 44 percent margin now," adds Holland.

And by roughly that same margin, Americans want Obama to have more influence over the direction the nation takes in the next few years, a view that has remained unchanged since the start of the year.

"The results of those two questions, taken together, suggest that in the 2010 election voters wanted to give the GOP enough power to act as a check on the Democrats, but did not vote to give the GOP a mandate to enact its entire agenda," says Holland.

The poll also indicates that most Americans continue to believe that Obama is doing enough to cooperate with the Republicans in Congress. But fewer than three in ten say that congressional Republicans are doing enough to cooperate with the president.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted May 24 through May 26, with 1,007 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: CNN Polls • Congress • Paul Ryan • Polls • Republicans
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. CNN watcher

    Paul Ryan's budget will cost Republicans the House & Senate will be out of their reach in 2012.

    June 1, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Bill

    Wow. Proof that most voters are seeing the GOP as it really is and not as Faux News and the other GOP propaganda machines state.

    June 1, 2011 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. vin

    trend those numbers out to 11/12

    June 1, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. New Age Independent

    I'll admit I'm not sold on Ryan's plan either, but it is leaps and bounds better than the Democrat plan. Which is NOTHING. Last I checked NOTHING will not be enough to live on. If the Dems have any plans, besides taxing me and my kids into oblivion, I'll go with any other plan.

    June 1, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. 'merica ruined by rethugs

    The will of the people is to give the single digit salute to the rethugs' "bold leadership". Love the spin they were trying to pass on the Sunday AM talk circuit: "bold leadership".... new wrapper doesn't change the fact that it is the Path to Poverty and pushing grandma off a cliff in the "free market". LOL @ GOP, hope they keep doubling down on this garbage.

    June 1, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. FM

    No one can agree what Ryan plan puts infront of the eyes of all people. Elders worked so hard and put the country where it is now even including Ryan himself. They deserve to be treated well and get what they worked for all these years. What a shame to watch them suffering!

    June 1, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. DIANA

    When will the Republicans listen to the people and stop pushing this on us?! Stop holding our country hostage to your big business interests!

    June 1, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Name king

    Hey the people voted some of the most radical right wingers in congress at a point where the country need corporation to tackle the persistence economy woes. We have sit idled for the past 6 months, and true to their promise that they want Obama to be a one term president. the repugs have put every obstacle in the way of progress. Now they want to take away the stability for local businesses, and cut consumer spending money. This will scare businesses away to china, where their demand is building.

    June 1, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. Kwesoe

    You don't look too good there, Mr Ryan.

    June 1, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    So what. Republicans do not care what the will of the American people is. They only care when the American people listen to what they are told to want. If the people do not want it, then that is called a "messaging problem".

    June 1, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    Tell him to take away his parents' medicare RIGHT NOW if he's serious. I don't want my middle-aged children having to lay out upward of $12000 per year for premiums and then have deductibles and co-pays to deal with. 2 days in any hospital can run upwards of $35,000 and 20% of that is not chicken-feed. But then, HE gets all the benefits FOREVER, PAID FOR WITH OUR TAXES.

    June 1, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. SAY WHAT!!!

    CNN tell me something new. Everyone knows the Republicans don't want to work things out with President Obama.

    June 1, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. vic , nashville ,tn

    Paul Ryan’s plan hurting GOP in local and state it will get worst

    Under Paul Ryan’s plan many will lose their jobs that worries many local governments

    (Some counties average 5 people will lose their jobs some counties nearly 20 to 40 people will lose their jobs) do the math for nation wide

    Many middle class families depending on these jobs (health care)

    June 1, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. Al

    Keep pushing the plan Ryan so you could lose along with the house GOP.

    June 1, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. Erik S.

    Wait, a poll given by CNN, to a 1000 people says everything republicans do suck and don;t touch medicare...shocking.

    June 1, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. SayWhat

    Can't wait until 2012 to send the GOP packing.

    June 1, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. GOP-Tea Party Radical Social Engineering to Kill Grandma Medicare

    Paul Ryan GOP-Tea Party Radical Social Engineering to Kill Grandma Medicare...is waking up the sleeping giants: Grandma's and seniors who are scared of the GOP putting them through DEATH PANELS!!!

    June 1, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Richard

    At least Ryan has a plan, Obama is playing politics without a plan. A president with no backbone and he is simply and empty suit. At least Ryan has something. Obama has nothing just rhetoric.

    June 1, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Ryan should be required to do "community service" by working in a senior citizens home and maybe he can find some kind of empathy for seniors because right now he shows ZERO.

    June 1, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. Gobama!

    Is anyone surprised? Republicans are so out of touch, it'd be funny if it weren't so sad for the state of our country's future.

    June 1, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. Ray E. (Georgia)

    All the Social Programs need to be farmed back to the States where people in each state can decide what they want to do with the program. Raising the National Debt as has been done over and over again is no answer.

    June 1, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. mgc florida

    Good to see that people are seeing that Boehner, Cantor and McConnell have no intention on compromising with the president. No matter who the president is, governing requires compromise IF you are really working for the people.

    June 1, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. Bill R in Oakland

    What's equally egregious in Eddie the Budget Munster's plan is the tax cuts to the rich. It hasn't received as much negative press coverage but it's completely hypocritical asking Medicare recipients to "suck it up" while passing along another giveaway to the wealthy, and doesn't demonstrate any semblance of fiscal discipline. Ryan's voucher plan takes something that works (Medicare)–albeit needing reform–and injects a profit motive into it. How can that result in less out-of-pocket costs for people living mostly on fixed incomes?

    June 1, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. marylandvoter

    Oh, those big baby eyes, will never betray you!

    June 1, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. Dem

    Who did you survey? I think more than 80% percent with common sense,would delete Ryan into Cyberspace forever! Repubs are trying to make Mainstreet America pay for their economic "Nightmare" NOT!

    June 1, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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