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. OneMoreTime

    Hopefully this trend will grow as more and more people realize the agenda of the Teacans is not for the good of
    Did Eric Cantor, really say that Joplin, Mo tornado victims should NOT get any emergency aid from the Federal
    Government until the money is made up for in budget cuts???????????? AND, he is blocking the funding? Wow,
    I can't imagine the lack of compassion these people have, but I can imagine their greed and hate. It is on display
    every day.

    June 1, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  2. Monica in Denver

    Is this a surprise to anyone...buyer's remorse...

    They have shown Seniors, Middle-Class, the Poor and sick how much they despise America. It's so sad that we are even having this conversation, however, what happened to the Job creation they promised? I have not heard one Tea Bagger or Republican mention anything about Job creation to help put money back into Medicare and Social Security.

    The problem is not that Medicare and Social Security are draining from our system, the wealthy corporations who outsourced millions of jobs are responsible for the lack of funding to Medicare and Social Security, millions of jobs gone..Trillions of dollars removed from the trusts of Medicare and Social Security, but nobody wants to talk about it. What's the real problem? Where are the jobs that pay decent wages?

    June 1, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. GOP = Greed Over People

    58% are against the GOP "pathway to poverty" plan? How can that be?

    The GOP and tea baggers are always telling us how they are only "following the will of the people".

    It does appear to be true, but only because the "birther" Supreme Court gave corporations "life".

    June 1, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  4. Tina in NC

    I don't see how the same people who are so worried about their grandchildren's future would be willing to tell those same grandchildren that they have to pay into Medicare for 50 yrs and then get a coupon at 67 to buy private insurance. The same private insurance who will then, thanks to Ryan's plan to repeal the health care act, be able to regect you because of a pre exisiting condition. Ryan even had the nerve to say on Fox News that it was the Dems who were really killing Medicare under Obama care. Really? So, taking away gov subsidies to private health insurance companies, that resulted in costing the gov 14% more than regular Medicare, is destroying Medicare? Yet, forcing you to pay Medicare taxes all your working life in the hopes of getting a coupon isn't?

    What's more troubling to me than their CouponCare plan is the fact that they want you to believe that they can magically lower the tax rate by 10% for the richest among us without raising taxes somewhere else. His plan claims to consolidate the tax brackets but doesn't explain which ones and how. His plan also claims to end 2.9 trillion in tax expenditures but doesn't say what. I'm guessing Things like the deductions for health insurance, mortgage interest and retirement accounts would end. But, you can bet it won't be anything that would hurt the rich because repubs have decided that the only way to fix the deficits they created by giving tax breaks to rich people is to force the poor and middle class to pay for even more tax cuts to rich people.

    June 1, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. LB in FL

    The overreach the GOP/TP has exhibited by incorrectly thinking they were handed a mandate in 2010 makes the overreach Newt and the GOP tried in 1994/95 look like a frickin' tip-to-through-the-tulips. The democrats will retake the house in 2012, gain seats in the senate and President Obama will win a second term...and it is starting to look like a LANDSLIDE!!!

    (And I predicted this months ago, before Ryan's death plan for Seniors!)

    Keep bagging tea party, keep bagging!!!!!!!

    June 1, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Mark from Louisiana

    If some one only watched the liberal media they would be against the plan, so many lies being told it's pathetic. The story below is about what the DNC national chairperson said on the Sunday morning talk shows.

    The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler gives Wasserman-Schultz three Pinocchios for her demagoguery and calls her claim “bogus”:

    Neither of those claims are true. The system as envisioned by Republicans would operate much like the Medicare prescription drug plan currently does. The government would not give people a check or anything like that; the government would handle the funds, just as they do under the drug plan. As the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said when it examined the plan, “The premium support payments would go directly from the government to the plans that people selected.”

    Meanwhile, different plans approved by Medicare would compete for business, as under the drug plan. Moreover, the GOP proposal specifically says that to participate in the Medicare exchange, insurance companies would have to accept all retirees. …

    There are certainly details in the GOP plan, which has not been drafted as actual legislation, that need to be addressed. But Wasserman Schultz is jumping to conclusions — not to mention scaremongering metaphors — to describe provisions in the GOP Medicare plan that just do not exist.

    For the piece de resistance, the DNC hurried to corroborate Wasserman-Schultz’s statement with expert testimony from Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute. The only problem is that Cannon’s testimony says nothing of the kind. In fact, when reached by the Post, Cannon called Wasserman-Schultz’s argument “high-octane idiocy”:

    June 1, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. The Situation

    All you Repubs keep blaming everything on Obama. All your leaders has said that it is their mission to see Obama fail to have another Repub in the White House. I see that is a plan that is failing miserably. See you in 2016

    June 1, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Mike Dallas

    "t 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."

    Let me see, could that be that they envision their brothers, sisters and kids below the age of 55 dying in emergency waiting rooms?

    "Death panels" indeed!

    June 1, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Christopher

    The Republican plan for over-hauling Medicare is to turn it into a voucher system for purchasing medical insurance "on the open market", i.e. from the medical insurance companies who have spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying Congress for just such a change. What better way for them to make a guaranteed profit at the expense of taxpayers??

    June 1, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. christian

    and the news is??

    June 1, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. Rachel

    When I was in college in WI, during the long cold winters we'd sit around smoke a little weed and solve all the worlds problems – Ayn Rand made sense while under the influence. We all sobered up and grew up and realized what foolish nonsense Rand spewed. Perhaps Mr. Ryan should do the same.

    June 1, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    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.
    Of course they disagree, and they are wrong. They are suggesting that every vote to the 3rd candidate would have went to the Republican, which is absurd. The electorate knew the 3rd candidate very well. They knew he was a Democat who had run for office multiple times in the area. Suggesting that all of the votes he won would have gone to the Republican is so out of touch that it is not worth disputing.

    No, Republicans lost the NY-26 district because of Newt Gingrich. Newt was a hero to many of the long time Republicans in that district. They trusted him unequivocally. Newt knew that Ryan's Plan was a non-starter, and stated so. Then the voters watched their hero get thrown under the bus on Fox and right wing media. They watched in horror when their hero came out of the E.R. a changed man, which is what probably became the deciding factor.

    June 1, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. Okie

    Name a year when health insurance didn't go? The insurance companies knows Federal and State goverment subsidize their workers policies. Why pay $50,000 to have lunch with a congressman? Give me the same plan as the Senators and Congressman, it is probably free, the tax payers paid for it.

    June 1, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. GOP = Greed Over People

    "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"

    Just keep ignoring the facts of NY-26 and keep believing your own GOP spin.

    Also, that 58% that do not approve I am sure was only a sampling pool of CNN liberals, so do ignore that as well.

    June 1, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. DC

    Just shows how people are starting to see the GOP for the crooks they are....big business, big insurance & big pharma lobbists have the GOP in their pocket....when you look at big government in comparison to the big 3 crooks it makes the Dems & Pres Obama look like the good guys.

    June 1, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. Monica in Denver

    Maybe they do not understand the message...."STOP SUPPoRTING THE WEALTHY CORPORATIONS AND START SUPPORTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE" you can call it socialism if you like, but American's are through being decieved and listening to meaningless rhetoric by the culprits who helped create this mess during the Bush Administration. The new message to the GOP and Tea Party is pack your bags and get out, "WE THE PEOPLE" are tired of you taking away from those of us who work hard to make our country great. KEEP AMERICA MOVING...VOTE OUT ALL GOP AND TEA PARTY CANDIDATES...IN 2012. Time for the Middle-class to rise up and take a will hear our message.

    June 1, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Pedro

    I just hope both parties would wake up and starts to work together to get the Country on track again. Republican or democratics, immigration or medicare, we need our politician to think about what is better for us NOT for their parties.

    June 1, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Bobby

    Lets see if fox news report this cnn poll like they do whenever obama numbers are slipping

    June 1, 2011 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on YOU!

    Obviously the GOBPbaggers will ignore the strong suggestions from this polling that Americans don't want more teatard ideas but rather some useful proposals or "tweaks" to add to Dem legislation. Sadly, "plays well with others" is not a phrase commonly used to describe the extreme rightwing radicals who have taken over the once-grand old party and turned it into the Torture/Big Oil/Billionaires Party.

    June 1, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. Al-NY,NY

    Buyer's remorse...AN UNDERSTATEMENT. They got power, they saw it as a free ride to trample on anything they see as "immoral" or "fiscally unsound." They once again overplayed their hand on social wedge issues, and enacted economic policies that favor their constituencies (the rich) at the expense of everyone else. And gee what a surprise about the number who recognize the "deny Obama anything""Say no to everything" obstructionist policy. You had your chance GOP. You blew it. 2012 is gonna be a lot different than 2010.

    June 1, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  21. Donald in CA

    With ryan's big government pension he probably want have any use for medicare when he retires. The republicans take care of the rich and look down on the middle class. Its just a shame that poor folks, especially in the southern states, vote for these republican politicians who dont represent them.

    June 1, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. GI Joe

    Poll after poll shows the American people want tax increases for the wealthiest and loopholes cut out for the corporations. NOT benefits for our elderly, veterans, and poor cut again.


    June 1, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. 2termlimit

    I guess the next time the GOP wants to attempt to enact its entire agenda, they ought to control the senate, house and white house. Smells like they'll be starting from scratch in 2012.

    June 1, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  24. luis

    Let's hope the President and the rest of the Dens see this and don't do anything stupid like caving into any Republican nonsense.

    June 1, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  25. one voice

    This RADICAL makes Richard Nixon look like a pussycat.

    June 1, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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