THE SCRIPT SHOULD WRITE ITSELF…. A major Democratic pollster, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, published a report the other day, noting the results a new survey conducted for the Campaign for America’s Future and Democracy Corps. The results should be of great interest to party officials.
Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, to be embraced by the House Republican majority today, faces serious obstacles in winning public support…. The Republican plan provides Democrats with a strong argument that Republicans have the wrong priorities for America and will break the long-standing agreement the country has with its seniors. The budget opens up a fundamental debate about values that could end up defining Republicans in the public mind and allowing Democrats to draw sharp differences and regain their standing on the economy and spending priorities and advocacy for the middle class. The decision to end Medicare and shift costs to seniors in continuing tough times may be the Republicans’ undoing. […]
The Republican deficit reduction plan does not even win majority support, but when voters learn almost anything about it, they turn sharply and intensely against it. They have particularly grave concerns about the plan to end Medicare and slash Medicaid spending, pushing seniors into the private insurance market and costing them thousands of dollars more in out-of-pocket expenses. [emphasis added]
At first glance, the survey results aren’t exactly encouraging. When respondents were asked whether or not they favored the Republicans’ a 10-year plan to cut spending $6.2 trillion, it scored pretty well — 48% supported the idea, which is pretty high, while 33% were against it.
But then respondents were given an accurate description of the same plan, noting, among other things, that the GOP proposal “makes small cuts in defense spending,” repeals health care reform, cuts taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and makes “major cuts” to Medicaid and Medicare.
At that point, support dropped from 48% to 36%, and opposition rose from 33% to 56%.
What’s more, the pollster explained the Republicans’ plan for Medicare: “This plan would cut Medicare spending and replace Medicare with a voucher system, which will force seniors to negotiate with private insurance companies, which are free to raise rates and deny coverage. Medicare’s guaranteed coverage of care would end, and seniors would have to pay more and more out of pocket.” All of this is accurate, by the way.
After hearing this description, 66% of respondents said they have “serious doubts” about the GOP proposal.
Noting the results, Nate Silver said yesterday, “Clearly there is political upside for Dems in attacking Ryan budget, however, they also have a lot of work to do to inform voters about it.”
Right. Most of the public doesn’t know much about what House Republicans have proposed, and as of Friday afternoon, voted for. And given a general, generic description, they seemed to think the GOP plan is fine.
But it seems all Democrats have to do to win the debate is tell people the truth, and educate the American mainstream, at which point Americans not only oppose the Republican agenda, but even fear it.
It doesn’t take a messaging genius to figure out what Dems should be saying right now.