The Medicare Dud
As early voting proceeds across the country ahead of Tuesday's presidential election, voters over 50 continue to be more likely than most to prefer Republican challenger Mitt Romney to President Barack Obama and to favor Romney's position on two issues that directly affect the elderly: healthcare and Medicare.
While Friday's Reuters/Ipsos national tracking poll saw the candidates at an effective dead heat among all likely voters, older likely voters preferred Romney 51 percent to 43 percent during the week ending November 4.
Asked who has the better plan on healthcare, all likely voters support Obama over Romney by 42 percent to 39 percent, while older voters choose Romney, 43 percent to 39 percent. The responses on the candidates' plans for Medicare show something similar: Obama leads among all likely voters, 42 percent to 35 percent, while Romney is ahead among older voters by 40 percent to 39 percent.
The Hill reports:
Attacking Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan — once seen as the most potent weapon in House Democrats’ campaign arsenal — is turning out to be a dud.
Democratic leaders have hit Medicare harder than any other issue for more than a year, even calling Ryan’s plan a “majority-maker.” But with Election Day just around the corner, Democrats are looking at pickups in the single digits — far short of the 25 seats they would need to retake the House.
Medicare simply hasn’t become the powerful tool that Democrats — and even many Republicans — expected.
The National Republican Congressional Committee says it’s not surprised. It was prepared for the Medicare debate after a pair of special elections where Ryan’s budget was front and center.
“Everything they said, we knew they were going to say,” NRCC Political Director Mike Shields said. “The idea that putting Ryan on the ticket gave them this issue is absurd.”
The NRCC’s playbook, like the Romney campaign’s, was clearly telegraphed: Change the subject and stay on offense. Rather than debating Ryan’s budget in specific detail, Republicans launched a Medicare attack of their own, accusing Democrats of “robbing” $716 billion from Medicare to pay for President Obama’s healthcare law.
The NRCC is running 20 ads that focus exclusively on healthcare. Only one makes even a vague reference to Ryan’s Medicare plan, while 18 of the ads accuse Democrats of supporting $716 billion in Medicare cuts.
The outside spending groups have also hammered the "robbing" angle.