Poll: 70 Percent of "Tea Party Supporters" Oppose Medicare Cuts

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 19 2011 10:31 AM

Poll: 70 Percent of "Tea Party Supporters" Oppose Medicare Cuts

I've yet to see a poll that asks this question the right way. The Washington Post's poll found a lot of public readiness for small Medicare cuts. No poll has yet asked what voters think of Paul Ryan's plan, specifically. But Marist just dropped a nice present in the Democrats' laps.

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Again, too bad they say "cut Medicaid" (which no one is suggesting) and not "turn Medicaid into block grants" (which Ryan is suggesting). Those are pretty ugly numbers, though. Opposition to entitlement cuts is an 80 percent issue, one that Obama is even able to move the needle on. If Democrats can keep portraying the cuts as worse than they are -- this was done successfully in the 2005 Social Security fight -- there's a win here.

Meanwhile, look at the numbers on taxes, which are easier to poll about.

Independents favor tax increases on the wealthy (and, yes, a bunch of people who'll get hit but aren't all that wealthy) by a 2-1 margin. Obama shifted the dial with his speech, moving overall support from +23 to +34. Conservatives are very worried about deficit talk whenever it bleeds over into the tax issue, because voters are willing and ready to raise taxes on other people in order to cut the deficit. And as Jonathan Chait keeps screaming into the darkness, the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, like the Reagan tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, were never that popular.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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