CNN Poll: Majority gives thumbs down to Ryan plan
June 1st, 2011
01:44 PM ET
11 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. LegendRx

    "Let's get ready to RUMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    June 1, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  2. Rex Raptor

    Sounds about right to me. The republicans really have to start working for ALL Americans and not for just the crazy fringe of their party. They come across like bratty children, making Obama look more like the adult in the room.

    June 1, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Republican: The kid who peed in the pool anyway after being told that it would turn the water red.

    June 1, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. dd

    That is great news. could never understand why they are not working together...that is their job! so people are tired of the party of no. hope this read by repubs and they see the light!

    June 1, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. American

    The majority of Americans can see Ryan's scheme for what it is–an assault against our seniors to give even more unnecessary & unaffordable tax cuts to the uber rich. Politicians who support this nonsense should be held accountable by voters.

    June 1, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. Tim

    Bullcrap. I vast majority of Americans know this is exactly the conversation we should have. Keep pulling the wool over your eyes. At some point, we go down the Ryan path or we continue to go down the path of descruction.

    The poll is heavily weighted towards democrats and also asks loaded questions. I can take my own poll and show 90% agree with me.

    June 1, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Doug in NYC

    I truely believe that there are republicans with some good ideas for the country, however those ideas are not allowed to come forward by the hard right elements that have taken over the republican party and this is a true shame. Unless the republicans can stifel the hard right fringe, they will continue to find thier poll number dropping at an even faster pace. They have become the party of no, no matter the cost and refuse to work with the President. I support this President and I want a good honest debate, but a debate that leads to getting things done and moving this country forward. No is not a debate, and not an idea.

    June 1, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. Debbie

    Something is wrong with the way right wing repubs think. My mother wouldn't throw me under the bus just because she
    gets to keep her full medicare/medicaid coverage and I'm sure many other parents 55 and over feel the same way. We have paid into this system and I agree that the administration of it needs to be modified but not into a voucher system that put limitations on our healthcare after we get old. And the debt ceiling issue. Why is it ok not to pay our bills? THe bills got paid when Bush was president by raising the ceiling. Also by Clinton and Bush Senior before him by raising the debt ceiling. I agree spending needs to be cut, but let's pay the bills first. DUH!!! Maybe the repubs want us to go bankrupt and have to sell out to other countries like China. Maybe they're in China's pocket like they are with the oil companies. I wouldn't put it past them. They don't want to cut defense spending. Do you know everything plus the grocery list is part of defense spending, Our aid to other countries is in there. America needs aid. The repubs don't even want to help the tornado and flood victims but we give aid to other countries. I don't understand them or anyone who supports them. The things they are doing are unamerican. They should be tried for treason. The entire right wing repub party are guilty of treason.

    June 1, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. marco

    What goes around comes around.

    June 1, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Peter E

    Really? The public doesn't like such a sensible plan? A plan that keeps the tax cuts for the rich at the expense of having seniors pay more? Shocking!

    June 1, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. jen

    Ryan, what a moron..

    June 1, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. phoenix86

    Americans may not like the Ryan plan, bujt the Democrat's plan of Do-Nothing means that Medicare will end completely within 10 years.

    June 1, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. excitizen

    This is the very typical behaviour of the republicans – switch sides of the issues depending on how you can use it to manipulate the voters – and the voters should be ashamed of themselves for being the sheep that they are and refusing to see the Bull for what it is. Last year they scarred you into voting for them as champions of medicare and today they are threatening everyone's quality of life by playing chicken with the very same plan – only now THEY want to cut it (they are the people you should be afraid of!).

    June 1, 2011 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. ace

    The more the GOP tries to shove its right wing agenda the more likely Obama will get re-elected!

    June 1, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. Texan

    People want Meidcare to be improved and not taken away. What the GOP plan does is shift the risk of healthcare cost on to the citizens. It is not doing anything to contain the cost of healthcare, but shift the responsibility to our senior citizens. The plan says it does not affect anyone over 55; but what about if you are 54. You would have paid into Medicare for 34 years and now told that you will not have the same coverage and you carry the risk of healthcare cost increases. If the GOP want to change the Medicare system, they should apply it to those who are just entering the workforce and not contributed to Medicare so far. You cannot have people contributing for something for years and then say... SORRY, we will not provide you what we said we would.

    June 1, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Limbaugh is a liberal

    The GOP campaigned endlessly on 'jobs, jobs, and jobs.' Yet not ONE of their proposals since they got back into power has been about jobs. Their only obsession has been to use the excuse of deficits (brought on by the apparently untouchable Bush tax cuts for the rich) to try to destroy Medicare. Sure, let's go back to the 60s, before Medicare! Let's drop coverage for millions of seniors and let those millions of seniors sink back into poverty and die earlier!
    It is ironic that republicans kept scaring people about the so-called 'death-pannels.' Guess what: the very reason Medicare was created in the first place is because the death-pannels of private insruance companies kept dropping millions of seniors from coverage. Those seniors died poor, in pain, without medical attention, because private insurance companies decided it cost too much to cover them. But it was all justified because it saved us from socialism...

    June 1, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. USwatcher

    Back in November I personally felt that we needed more balance between the two parties to accomplish America's business like working together to help government and private sector to CREATE JOBS for AMERICANS. Unfortunately,last November seems to be the last time we've heard anything about JOBS FOR AMERICANS.JOBS FOR AMERICANS is the answer.And NO...I don't like Ryan's plan either.Create jobs,raise the taxable income amount(like mine was raised for 40 years)for current and future wage earners.

    June 1, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. GrogInOhio

    Aw man... I was REALLY hoping the GOP would double down and push this "death panel" of a plan through November, 2012 and get clobbered at the polls. I think this poll gives them a heads up. I hope they don't read it!

    June 1, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. D Grant

    And still the Republicans march on, in the WRONG direction. Let's just hope President Obama gets nowhere near the negotiation table other wise America is doomed!

    June 1, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. ED FL

    He looks worried ,I guess he found out that his big mouth overloaded his Skinny Butt. Hopefully the population of Wisconsinwill give him an oppotunity to look for NON-Union Work in the next election in 2012. He Walker, Kucinich, Daniels will find out that if you irritate the VOTERS and in particular SENIORS that vote you may have overloaded your ability.

    June 1, 2011 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    YET you watch....the GOP is going to keep pushing this plan because they "know what's BEST for the American people" doesn't matter if we like it or not. Those of you having voter's remorse after falling for the GOP plan of fear and mis-information in Nov 2010 can redeem yourselves in Nov 2012 by voting these jokers OUT of office. I know I will do my part to try to boot them out, even though I tried not to let them get in there in the first place.

    June 1, 2011 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Kedrick Tembo

    It is time to put politics aside for them sake of the country whatever you are

    June 1, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. Rickster

    When the republicans were cutting discretionary spending the democrats whined that it was a waste of time because "in order to really make meaningful cuts you have to cut entitlements". Now that republicans are proposing cutting entitlement spending the democrats are opposed to that so, just as we all knew, the democrats have no plan, no ideas and no intention of slowing down their goal of destroying the American economy.

    June 1, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. Bill

    Maybe it depends on where one hears about the plan. There's no such thing any more as reporting the facts and letting the readers/viewers judge.

    June 1, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. Don

    The part about the Medicare change that gets me is that it's only affecting those of us under 55. Since most of the Tea Party voters seem to be over 55, it makes it seem like a pay off to them and makes me wonder if they are ever going to be expected to sacrafice anything.

    June 1, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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