In Choosing Ryan, Did Romney Give Away Florida?

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Aug. 11 2012 1:30 PM

Did Romney Just Give Away Florida?

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U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks after being announced by Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney as his vice presidential running mate.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

In choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney: a) doesn't get a bump in Florida from choosing homestate Senator Marco Rubio b) risks scaring off elderly people worried abour protecting their entitlements.

As Marc Caputo points out in the Miami Herald, Democrats like this fight. Tweet from Rep. Ted Deutch, a Dem from Boca Raton: “Paul Ryan wants to privatize Social Security. Looking forward to welcoming Mitt and his pick to Florida. There’s nothing brave about cutting the programs that America’s seniors rely on for their health and financial security.”

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It's actually only people younger than 55 who would be affected by Ryan's plan to restructure and  privatize Medicare by replacing it with vouchers. Still, according to Caputo, "While no Florida-specific polls on the Ryan plan are available, a poll last summer by CNN/Opinion Research Corp. said that more than 50 percent of voters opposed Ryan’s proposal. Opposition was highest among senior citizens."

There are of course lots of senior citizens in Florida--they are 17 percent of the population and they vote in high numbers. Will they flee as soon as they hear that Ryan's plan will increase out of pocket expenses for Medicare recipients, even though these are future projections? Caputo says that Rubio gave Romney a 2 percent bump in the Florida polls. According to the latest numbers, the spread has Obama up in Florida by 1.4 percent. That's before the V.P. pick. I'm curious about how it moves the needle. Ryan, of course, wants to cut taxes as well as restucture Medicare and (cut Medicaid). But in Florida, it's hard to see how that's the headline.

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

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