The media and Democrats gleefully greeted the announcement of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Mitt Romney’s running mate with dire predictions of doom for the GOP ticket. Ryan’s plan to strengthen Medicare through reform was deemed “too radical” for much of the voting public, especially seniors. The pick, anonymous GOP “sources” fretted, would probably swing the critical state of Florida into Obama’s column. It hasn’t worked out that way.
In a poll released today by Rasmussen, Romney’s support in the state as inched up since the last survey. He now leads Obama by 2 points, 45-43.
For decades, Democrats have dined out on scaring seniors that Republicans would slash either their Social Security or Medicare benefits. From the odious Rep. Claude Pepper in the 80s to the noxious “granny-getting-pushed-off-a-cliff” ad today, it has been the Democrats most effective play in interest group politics. Most of their charges were woven out of whole cloth, but with an actual plan to reform Medicare on the table, put forward by Romney’s VP pick, it seemed like the tactic would take center-stage in this year’s campaign.
But, a lot of things have changed over the last decade. Most importantly, seniors have become much more Republican then they used to be. In fact, they provide one of the strongest blocks of support for Romney. Before the Ryan pick, Rasmussen found Romney leading Obama by 17 points. Since the Ryan pick, Romney’s support among seniors has increased. Today, Romney leads Obama by 24 points among those 65 and older.
Another problem for Democrats is that they’ve already enacted $700 billion in cuts from Medicare to pay for ObamaCare. It is one thing to demagogue what Ryan’s plan will do, in theory, to Medicare. It is something else entirely to have already done something that will dramatically weaken the program.
Among all age groups, 48% of Floridians said they were more worried about ObamaCare’s impact on Medicare. 41% were more worried about Ryan’s plan. Among seniors though, the gulf was striking. 54% of seniors were more worried about ObamaCare, while 34% were more worried about Ryan’s proposals.
So far, the MediScare tactic isn’t working. But, you don’t need a poll to see this. Recently, the media and Democrats have started attacking Ryan on issues other than Medicare. They’re combing through his past votes and trying to make issues out of contraception and abortion. They wouldn’t be doing this if the Medicare issue were working.