Obama pollster: Paul Ryan pick is "game changer" in Fla
August 14, 2012
To: Interested Parties
Fr: John Anzalone / Jeff Liszt
Re: Romney-Ryan Medicare Plan is a Florida Game Changer
As today’s Tampa Bay Times notes, “In Florida, Medicare is [an] unavoidable topic…and Mitt
Romney’s veep choice brings the issue to the forefront.” Romney’s embrace of Paul Ryan’s plan
to replace guaranteed Medicare benefits with a privatized voucher program will be a game
changer in Florida.
President Obama currently leads Mitt Romney in Florida (Obama +1.4 in the RealClearPolitics
average) but the race has remained close because of seniors. In the most recent PPP poll (July
29), Romney leads 52% to 44% among voters over 65. In the most recent SurveyUSA poll (July
19), Romney leads 52% to 44% among voters over 65. Paul Ryan’s plans have the potential to
immediately erode those advantages.
CNN polling Director Keating Holland noted last year that, "A majority of all demographic
groups don't favor the GOP Medicare proposals…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.” This point is
critical – most groups including seniors oppose the Ryan plan even when it’s made clear that the
plan would not change Medicare for people over 55.
The Ryan plan creates vulnerabilities among seniors that go beyond Medicare. In ALR polling
for Protect Your Care, 65% of white seniors are “very concerned” that the Republican budget
“would cut seven hundred and fifty billion dollars from Medicaid, including funding for eighty
percent of nursing home residents, forcing many seniors to be kicked out of their nursing
Approximately one-quarter of likely voters in Florida are over 65 (22% of the 2008 exit polls /
24% of registered voters). President Obama is currently at 47% in the RealClearPolitics average,
and in a close election, seniors have the potential to be decisive.
Gallup polling shows that just 39% view the selection of Ryan positively. As the Washington
Post notes, the choice of Ryan is “less popular than Palin, Cheney selections…Quayle was the
only somewhat-recent vice presidential candidate to have more poll respondents rate worse than