Right now, Romney might be winning the public-relations war in Florida, according to a poll from Rasmussen Reports, which has a reputation for leaning Republican. Asked which plan scares you more, the poll found 54 percent of Florida seniors said Obamacare, while 34 percent said the Ryan plan. Overall, 48 percent were more scared of Obamacare and 41 percent were more worried about Ryans plan, which is the backbone of Romneys proposal.
The Ryan-Romney plan, which has few details compared to Obamacare, would give new recipients a capped subsidy through Medicare to buy private insurance in 2022, and would only impact those who are currently under age 55. That distinction should allay concerns of seniors and those about to retire.
But a poll last year by the Pew Research Center, which sampled more Democrats than Republicans, found that 51 percent of those 50 and older opposed Ryans Medicare changes, while only 29 percent approved.
Obamacare remains unpopular, too. A Miami Herald poll last month showed support for Obamacare was weakest among likely Florida voters older than 65. Overall, 52 percent supported and 43 percent opposed Obamacare; 56 percent felt it would make healthcare worse or have no effect.
A Florida poll released last week from Purple Strategies, a bipartisan consortium of consultants and pollsters, showed Romney remained essentially tied with Obama 48-47 percent in Florida. Voters split evenly 44-45 percent over who would do a better job protecting Medicare.
Many Democrats grouse that, were it not for Obamacare, they wouldnt have faced a senior backlash in 2010 and would have more standing among seniors to attack the Romney-Ryan plan. Democrats hope that Obamacares negatives are old news and that the Romney-Ryan plan will suffer a worse fate in 2012 than Obamacare did two years ago.
Republicans are concerned that their ticket will take a beating over the Ryan plan. Politico reported GOP discontent on Capitol Hill, where House Speaker John Boehner hosted a conference call to settle jittery Republican members.
I dont know if I would have been courageous enough to make that pick. But I admire Mitt Romney for doing it, said Republican consultant Alex Castellanos, with the Purple Poll. He didnt pick Ryan to make a political sale. It was to fix the government. The CEO hired a CFO.
Now, Castellanos said, the challenge is to focus on the economy and move forward. But that gets tougher because Ryan was picked two weeks before the Republican National Convention in Tampa at months end, giving opponents time to negatively define Ryan and his plan without the benefit of the primetime national stage to control the dialogue.
The Purple Strategies poll showed Ryan, who has helped the tickets fundraising explode, is a plus. Hes viewed more favorably than Romney, Obama or Vice President Joe Biden. A Florida poll by Survey USA found Ryan was viewed more favorably than unfavorably by Florida voters, including seniors.
However, though hes seen favorably in Florida right now, Ryans pick hasnt boosted the overall fortunes of Romneys ticket in the state. The Purple Poll showed Obamas ticket picked up 2 percentage points since July. But nationwide, approval shifted 3 points nationwide in Romneys favor in that poll. Overall, according to a New York Times analysis of multiple polls, Ryan has boosted the ticket just 1 point in Romneys favor; the average bump is usually 4 points.