Poll: GOP-backed Medicare proposals remain unpopular
August 21st, 2012
04:05 PM ET
6 years ago

Poll: GOP-backed Medicare proposals remain unpopular

(CNN) - With Medicare taking front and center in the presidential race in recent days, a new Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday indicates that GOP proposals to privatize the system remain unpopular among the general public.

According to the survey, 72% of American adults have heard either a lot or a little about a voucher-like program that would give seniors credit to purchase their own health care coverage–a proposal similar to that pushed by Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and now-running mate for Mitt Romney.

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Of those who have heard of the idea, 49% oppose such a change, while 34% favor the entitlement reform. Pew states that the margin is "virtually unchanged from public reactions a little over a year ago," when House Republicans voted on a similar measure as part of the so-called Ryan budget plan. The bill, however, did not pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.

The survey also finds that while Americans place the need to reduce the deficit as a top priority, most would not favor entitlement cuts as a way of balancing the budget. Asked which was more important, 51% of respondents said maintaining current Social Security and Medicare benefits, while 33% said taking steps to reduce the deficit. Eleven percent said the two were equally important.

The poll also indicates that Romney's selection of Ryan has low support among all Americans, as 28% said he was either an excellent or good choice, while 46% said he was a fair or poor choice. Among Republicans, 60% said he was either an excellent or good choice, while 20% said he was a fair or poor pick.

It's important to note that most Americans do not associate Ryan with Medicare reform, according to the survey. Of those who have heard of the proposal, 23% linked the idea to Ryan, while 17% said it was President Barack Obama's idea. Forty-four percent said they were unaware of who proposed it.

The poll was conducted about a week after Romney announced Ryan as his running mate, a move that injected Medicare as a hot button issue in this year's presidential race. The two campaigns have been engaged in a war of words over Medicare for much of the last 10 days.

Team Romney claims Obama 's health care reform includes more than $700 billion cuts to Medicare, while the Obama campaign contends the Romney argument is misleading and says the figure amounts to savings in health care costs-not cuts. The figure was reported in a Congressional Budget Office analysis that measured the effects of a repeal of the controversial health care legislation.

While the Pew poll shows Ryan with low approval ratings, Vice President Joe Biden is even more unpopular. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said he has done either an excellent or good job as the president's number two, while 56% said he does only a poor or fair job. Among Democrats specifically, 51% said he has done an excellent or good job, while 36% said he has performed poorly or fairly.

The survey was conducted just days after Biden drew fierce criticism over a comment he made about Romney during a campaign speech last week, telling a Virginia crowd that the presumptive GOP nominee's regulatory policies would "put y'all back in chains."

The Pew Research Center questioned 1,005 adults nationwide by telephone between August 16 and August 19. The sampling error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Medicare • Paul Ryan • Polls
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. cali girl

    They don't call Ryan the Kill Medicare Kid for nothing.

    August 21, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    A $6000 voucher each year, will buy a lot seniors a month's worth of healthcare under the republicans. Is it too early to start talking about 2nd amendment remedies?

    August 21, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Poll: GOP-backed Medicare proposals remain unpopular"

    We didn't need a poll to tell us that. All you had to do is watch Mittens and Lapdog trying to distance themselves from those policies they proposed, passed and promised to sign and it told you everything you need to know: they know the majority of Americans don't support that CouponCare Crapshoot and privatization garbage. That's why they're pretending it's not on the table and that they're running on a new and improved magic Mittens Medicare miracle that has no specifics or details nor numbers to back it up...but worry not oh ye faithful...you will find out all about it after they are elected! What a bucketload of vomit from these GOP goofs.

    August 21, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. BlkPwr817

    And this is what they want to implament to replace ObamaCare which is already doing wonders for seinor citizens. If the GOP plan is so wondeful, why will it take 10 years for it to kick in?

    August 21, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. Squigman

    Oh no! The GOP, never makes mistakes. If mistakes are made, they are made by the people that want to preserve programs that help people. The party that helps corporate America, never and I mean never makes mistakes. It's just your mind and eyes lying to you. Trust your corporate masters.

    August 21, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. love344@tiscali.it

    so when Romney/Ryan is for something.. the headline just calls it the GOP when its a negative result..............but when its anything to do with democrats.......President Obama's name is in the headlines...interesting????


    August 21, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Jules

    You know what – there's a big difference between poorly and fairly in my opinion. People who respond fairly think average – people who respond poorly think below average. I would like to see those numbers broken down further.

    August 21, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |

    Not only will Paul Ryan toss your grannie off the cliff, he'll give himself and Willard another tax break. Why doesn't Willard accuse Ryan of "Stealing" $716 billion out of Medicare? It's in his budget. I'm starting to suspect that Ryan wasn't thoroughly vetted.

    August 21, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. jerrylax

    and obamas stealing of $716,000,000,000.00 from our medicare is not a problem with voters...I don't think so. We paid for this through our salary deductions...it is our promise and our legal right to these funds...obama needs to go back to the chicago sewers he came from.

    August 21, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. incredulous

    Paul Ryan likes to brag about taking care of his grandmother with Alzheimers. Has anyone asked him what an elderly patient with alzheimers would do with a voucher if they have no family to help them shop for health care?

    August 21, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. jr

    Paladin you are neither funny nor enlightened. I check out CNN occasionally as well as the comments and you are always here. What no job. No friends. No life. When you can get your nose out off CNN's ass long enough to actually read something about other alternatives to healthcare solutions than I'd be glad to hear from you. But you must challenge yourself to listen to other ideas. Nobody has all the answers.

    August 21, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  12. Iamnotfooled

    Leave Medicare alone. Leave Social Security alone. Make them pay more taxes and close loop holes . Put people back to work for more revenue.

    August 21, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. Hahahahahahahahahahaha

    What part of saving Medicare $716 billion don't the repukes like? Oh I know. It's those payments to the Medical Cartels that were cut. You know.......The one's filling the GOP's pockets full of MONEY!!!!! Hahahahahahahahahaha.

    August 21, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "and obamas stealing of $716,000,000,000.00 from our medicare is not a problem with voters...I don't think so. We paid for this through our salary deductions"

    And you're still getting the guaranteed benefits your were promised. The money comes from reducing fraud and reimbursement rates and getting rid of gross overpayments to Medicare Advantage providers....NOT FROM YOUR BENEFITS. STOP PRETENDING IT DOES.

    August 21, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. Hahahahahahahahahahaha

    @jerrylax – You're retarded right? The $716 billion is cuts to the Medical Cartel payments. The ones that already charge too much for services and who's payments SHOULD be cut. NOT your benefits! People like you are too stupid to know the difference. That's what the GOP want in voters. Hahahahahahahahaahah

    August 21, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    jr – You are neither informed nor are you well read. However, I do enjoy right wing mental midgets posting words like 'ass'. Keep up the foreign owned media talking points.

    August 21, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. Lily

    GOP under-estimated the wisdom of seniors. Majority of them understands the saying: "off the cliff". With some I have talked to, they don't want to hear anyone saying the word "medicare". It really disturbs them a lot.

    August 21, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Four and The Door

    Under the existing Medicare system ( Obama's favorite ), lousy care gets paid the same as excellent care and good service and convenience for the patient don't make an extra dime. Under Ryan's plan, senior can choose either to use a defined premium and have the providers compete on quality and price for their business... or they can choose to stay with Obama's favorite plan and get what they get. I like the idea of improving the quality of care and actually lowering the cost.

    August 21, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. bb

    The Oblunder side show still goes, CREATE JOBS=increase taxes=more healthcare, Its not that hard FIX THE FREAKING JOB MARKET AND EVERYTHING ELSE WILL FALL INTO PLACE. Get our money back from your solar buddies , bring the car co back from finland, what a poor excuse oblunder has been. for 2 yrs he had the house and senate and wouldnt lift a finger to create jobs just oblunder care

    August 21, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Hahahahahahahahahahaha

    @jr – Why would we need to listen to Ryan's plan? It's clearly obvious to anyone with any brains what will eventually happen to old people. When the Voucher inflation rate that is tied to the phoney inflation rate (what 3%?) and the Medical inflation is running around 15-20%, very soon thereafter the Voucher doesn't cover much and the seniors will NOT have healthcare AGAIN! They won't be able to pay. Should we just do the GOP thing and just kill them at that time? Hahahahahahaha

    August 21, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. CanadaONE


    All the studies show that

    1. Countries with government supported health care systems = people LIVE LONGER
    2. Countries with the highest educated people = people LIVE LONGER!

    Obama is on the RIGHT track on both counts

    A vote for the GOP is a vote for EARLY DEATH

    Check the stats

    August 21, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |

    The Gop bafoons party won't be back for 50 years after the Dem landslide in Nov. Gop hot dog car wreck coming ,thanks tax cheat and Ryan atkins Gop platform,the worst Gop losers ever ,your mothers should have had an abortions!!!!!!!!

    August 21, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When it's "unpopular" that means only one thing, people don't trust the GOP.

    August 21, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. will never vote Republician again

    Wake up people! Thank god we now have the ACA!

    August 21, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    Well, that went well ... wonder what else Mr. Mittens has up his sleeve to amuse us with for the next two months?

    August 21, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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