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Ryan's Budget Polling Better than the Obama plan with Seniors

1:32 PM, Apr 27, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Just want to expand a bit to expand on the point about Paul Ryan's budget plan polling better with seniors mentioned in Jeffrey Anderson's post below. In fairly classic example of horserace political reporting run amok, Politico ran with a heavily touted story this morning, "Ryan plan puts elderly vote in play":

Democrats still smarting from their 2010 mid-term defeat see Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s controversial plan to overhaul Medicare as political aspirin, a cure for just about everything that ails them.

But for Barack Obama it’s more like Geritol — a targeted treatment for his chronic aches and pains with older voters.

Obama’s 2008 campaign was fueled by youthful enthusiasm and billed as a generational upheaval. But older voters, especially white working-class conservatives, were not a natural hope-and-change crowd, and he lost among seniors by nine points to John McCain. Many of them simply stayed home.

That skepticism, bordering on hostility, has carried over to his presidency.

Over-65 voters have given Obama the lowest marks of any age cohort in every weekly Gallup presidential approval survey taken since Obama took office. Last week, only 36 percent of seniors approved of his performance, seven points less than Obama’s overall approval rating and 12 points lower than his positive rating among 18-to-24 year-olds.

But Ryan’s plan, embraced by most Republicans, gives Obama a big opportunity in 2012 to regain lost ground in key battleground states and narrow the generation gap. “It finally gives us an argument to make with seniors… It’s a godsend,” said a Democratic operative allied with Obama who sees the issue as a way to make up lost ground with seniors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Florida.

As much as Democratic operatives would like this to be narrative regarding Ryan's plan -- the data so far just don't necessarily show that this is the case. As Anderson notes, every age group, save 18 to 29 year-olds, prefers Ryan's plan.

Democrats are trying to make a lot of hay out the senior vote and phony town hall outrage, but so far there's little evidence to think this is a serious problem for Obama and Democrats. If the poll numbers on Ryan's plan hold -- it's just more fodder for the Paul Ryan in 2012 crowd. In the meantime, beware the media spin.

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