Ryan budget plan for entitlement reform polling best with … seniors

posted at 11:36 am on April 27, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, we noted the USA Today/Gallup poll that showed Paul Ryan and Barack Obama in a statistical dead head on their competing budget plans, but today’s Gallup release is worth a second look.  According to their poll, Ryan does best in a surprising demographic, and that may end up making it more difficult to sell Obama’s “Mediscare!” campaign:

Ryan’s plan includes a complete restructuring of Medicare for people younger than 55. Pluralities of middle-aged Americans as well as those 65 and older prefer Ryan’s plan to Obama’s, while adults 18 to 29 show more support for Obama’s, 53% to 30%. These findings are in line with approval of Obama by age, more generally.

Only 18-29YO voters favor Obama’s plan, 53/30.  All other demographics show a six-point edge to Ryan, with approval edging up from 45% to 48%.  The finding on the seniors may actually not matter all that much, since Ryan’s plan offers some grandfathering (if you’ll pardon the expression) for current recipients.

The support among those 50-64 years of age, 47/41, is actually more telling.  After all, these are the people who have spent their lives paying into the system, and could be expected to be the most resentful of entitlement reform when they’re on the cusp of qualifying for them.  Yet they seem more comfortable with Ryan’s overhaul than with Obama’s cuts-and-status-quo approach.

Why?  Perhaps because they are used to making their own decisions for themselves.  A voucher plan puts them more in control of their own health care, rather than relying on the whim of a government board like the IPAB to decide when, how, and if they’ll get coverage for care.  It seems interesting that the age demographic with the least life experience in making their own decisions feels most comfortable with the top-down diktat approach.

These numbers give Ryan an edge in the debate, although a thin one to be sure.  Obama’s attempt to frighten seniors into panic at the idea of choice and self-management doesn’t seem to be working terribly well, and Ryan has a wide opening to argue for the American values of individual choice as a means for reform.


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We’ve known for decades that our benefits system is unsustainable. My mother told me not to count on it, and now as she approaches retirement age, isn’t counting on it either.

I thank her for inoculating me against the entitlement mentality. Unfortunately, too many parents these days are inoculating their children against personal responsibility.

Greek Fire on April 27, 2011 at 11:40 AM

So basically 30 percent of the 18-29 year olds are either working their way through school or have a real job.

The rest – ah to be young, idealistic and stupid

gophergirl on April 27, 2011 at 11:40 AM

So the only demographic favoring Obama over Ryan is the really young vote, and even they only support Obama’s plan with a slight majority.

Burn.

amerpundit on April 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM

If there was a way to let the Young ‘uns have their socialist messiah without forcing him on the rest of us, that would be just reward for their unrelenting stupidity.

james23 on April 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM

As soon as seniors started showing up at Tea Party rallies and town hall meetings, I knew Democrats were in trouble with one of their most reliable voting blocs. Seniors have the most to lose under ObamaCare and their children and grandchildren have the most to lose under Obama’s economic policies.

Terrie on April 27, 2011 at 11:43 AM

I don’t get the demigraphics. Younger folks, if they were smart, would understand the debt is going to be their problem in the future. Wanting budgets like Obama is going to crank out guarantees a dim outlook for them.

hawkdriver on April 27, 2011 at 11:43 AM

It seems interesting that the age demographic with the least life experience in making their own decisions feels most comfortable with the top-down diktat approach.

Gramsci’s march is bearing fruit….

JeffWeimer on April 27, 2011 at 11:45 AM

It seems interesting that the age demographic with the least life experience in making their own decisions feels most comfortable with the top-down diktat approach.

These folks are the easiest to be manipulated, fresh out of the propaganda filled public education system, influenced by a rejection of tradition and don’t believe they will ever grow old, get sick or have to earn a living. They are the entitled.

fourdeucer on April 27, 2011 at 11:45 AM

If there was a way to let the Young ‘uns have their socialist messiah without forcing him on the rest of us, that would be just reward for their unrelenting stupidity.

james23 on April 27, 2011 at 11:41 AM
///
How often I have thought the same thing.They voted for him ,let them enjoy each other but alas we are all suffering because of clueless people voting for an empty suit.

ohiobabe on April 27, 2011 at 11:47 AM

What Obama plan?

hawksruleva on April 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM

I don’t get the demographics. Younger folks, if they were smart, would understand the debt is going to be their problem in the future.
hawkdriver on April 27, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Half of the 18-30 YO contingent haven’t even gotten their first real job yet.

Vashta.Nerada on April 27, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Only 18-29YO voters favor Obama’s plan, 53/30

Plan? What plan? Did he actually publish one, or are we still talking about his speech?

Count to 10 on April 27, 2011 at 11:51 AM

I think part of the problem is that our spending and debt numbers have become so big that they no longer feel real. Young people do hear them, but they sound so bad that they tell themselves “I must just not be understanding something properly. That sounds so terrible – our leaders would have never let the situation get that terrible.” I feel like I used to tell myself something like that.

I’m speaking here of the, comparatively few, young people who are actually paying attention, of course.

David Shane on April 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Only 18-29YO voters favor Obama’s plan, 53/30.

I’m so glad I got my education out of the way, right before unions really led public education into the ground.

Products of our modern education system, churning out drones who really do think that a Poli Sci retard snapping their fingers, writing some policy, will magically produce the doctors needed to provide unlimited health care for unlimited amounts of people.

MNHawk on April 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM

The country has cancer–debt.
The chemotherapy (Ryan plan) isn’t pleasant, but is essential to continued life as a viable country.

I think older people are more realistic.

Margee on April 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM

After all, these are the people who have spent their lives paying into the system, and could be expected to be the most resentful of entitlement reform when they’re on the cusp of qualifying for them.

These (myself included) are the people that have the substantial life experince of PAYING for anything.

tgharris on April 27, 2011 at 11:53 AM

I don’t get the demigraphics. Younger folks, if they were smart, would understand the debt is going to be their problem in the future. Wanting budgets like Obama is going to crank out guarantees a dim outlook for them.

hawkdriver on April 27, 2011 at 11:43 AM

As a beloved art professor once said, “Remember, wings are so terribly hard to dry.”

Fallon on April 27, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Fascinating result. It shows that basically the argument is falling along ideological lines, instead of simple self interest. That bodes well for conservatives.

neoavatara on April 27, 2011 at 11:53 AM

What Obama plan?

hawksruleva on April 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM

I think he did 30 minutes of gasbagging about a “framework” a couple of weeks ago – or something.

forest on April 27, 2011 at 11:54 AM

I think he did 30 minutes of gasbagging about a “framework” a couple of weeks ago – or something.

forest on April 27, 2011 at 11:54 AM

At least when I gasbag on a thread here, I don’t expect anyone to take me too seriously.

gryphon202 on April 27, 2011 at 11:55 AM

The country has cancer–debt.
The chemotherapy (Ryan plan) isn’t pleasant, but is essential to continued life as a viable country.

I think older people are more realistic.

Margee on April 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM

…and chemotherapy is the noninvasive method. Amputation (or other surgical removal) of the problem area is the more extreme treatment.

Count to 10 on April 27, 2011 at 11:56 AM

I don’t get the demographics. Younger folks, if they were smart, would understand the debt is going to be their problem in the future.
hawkdriver on April 27, 2011 at 11:43 AM

No, remember…in their eyes, we’ll just “tax the rich” or someone else and it’ll all be free! The gov’t will take care of EVERYONE!

search4truth on April 27, 2011 at 11:57 AM

As long as the work age people felt they’d receive the same benefits as the retired, they had no problem paying for those retirees. This is natural. As soon as Ryan’s Plan secured the benefits for anyone 55+, and changed the paradigm for those under 55, it didn’t take a rocket surgeon to predict hostility from the young. I’m just surprised that the 30 and 40 somethings aren’t as hostile as their younger cohort.

xkaydet65 on April 27, 2011 at 11:58 AM

I said this last week…..these seniors are the generation that sacrificed for their children and grandchildren during the depression and especially WWII. They understand the morality of sacrifice and refuse to be seen as immoral by future generations.

EFF YOU OBAMA AND THE RATF**K PROGRESSIVES!! You cowards never served nor have you ever sacrificed for this country. You are spoiled brats who take for granted the freedoms provided to you by real Americans! You do not deserve the blessings that come from the individual freedoms protected by the constitution!! You make me Effing sick!

csdeven on April 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM

As a beloved art professor once said, “Remember, wings are so terribly hard to dry.”

Fallon on April 27, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Not a clue.

hawkdriver on April 27, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Not a clue.

hawkdriver on April 27, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Sorry, it’s a bit cryptic. Baby birds. Wet wings.

So many college students are still unable to fly on their own (still drying their wings) even though they believe they are adults and know everything that there is to know.

Fallon on April 27, 2011 at 12:05 PM

It makes sense to me. Seniors get to keep their coverage or opt for the new version. 55 and under will get options. Everyone knows they are going to pay more for their own care, but reality has set in. College-age kids don’t have a clue and won’t until they are 30. That’s just the way it is. Hopefully they will all be too hungover from some rad concert or party to vote in Nov. ’12.

Now he needs to seriously tackle SS.

JAM on April 27, 2011 at 12:08 PM

I don’t get the demigraphics. Younger folks, if they were smart, would understand the debt is going to be their problem in the future. Wanting budgets like Obama is going to crank out guarantees a dim outlook for them.
hawkdriver on April 27, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Really? These demos make sense to me. Ryan’s plan isn’t going to REALLY effect seniors who are currently getting benefits, more likely those who would in the near future. And the young voters think this will mean less benefits for them when they come due for retirement age. Which is probably true, but speaking as a (still relatively) young voter, I will take some benefits over no benefits, which is where we’re headed unless something changes.

BTW, lol at “young voters prefer Obama’s plan.”. WHAT plan?! All I’ve heard from him is some mumblings about another commission and taxing the rich.

Vyce on April 27, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Fallon on April 27, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Then well put. Thanks.

hawkdriver on April 27, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Young voters don’t understand yet that it is a plan like Ryan’s or no entitlments for anyone very shortly down the road. Once they understand that, they will start coming around like the seniors. I’ve got young ones and they are not focused on this issue at all. They are too busy just trying to survive the Bush/Obama economic disaster they found waiting for them as they entered the adult world.

Of course we could just go cold turkey now for everyone. Cut off ALL those on entitlements, safety net, etc now. Very quickly the sick, lame and lazy will die off-literally. If no longer taxed for the entitlements the young people could invest etc, etc and provide for themselves……hypothetically.

JimP on April 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM

I can’t explain the young demographic (unless you allow me to call the lot of them terminally stupid), but the elders realize that barring significant and near-immediate changes to what’s promised everybody else, their own benefits will get cut. That’s precisely what Paul Ryan’s promising them.

steveegg on April 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Once the younger generation start seeing the big picture of entitlement reform they will begin to understand the ramifications it has on this nation. We need to re educate our kids and their way of thinking on life…

hawkman on April 27, 2011 at 12:13 PM

csdeven on April 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Well said!

Roy Rogers on April 27, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Older people want a system that works. Younger people want to feel good about themselves and so are liberal under the mistaken impression that generous feelings will somehow pay the bills.

pedestrian on April 27, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Older people want a system that works. Younger people want to feel good about themselves and so are liberal under the mistaken impression that generous feelings will somehow pay the bills.

pedestrian

Dude, it’s all about intentions. They don’t care about results or unintended consequences of disastrous liberal policies so long as their “intention” was good. You know, it’s for the children…

JAM on April 27, 2011 at 12:22 PM

I really feel sorry for the younger generations, it seems like they don’t have big dreams, big aspirations or ambitions. All they have is the false promise of governmental overreach into every hurdle they encounter. Maybe this malaise the country finds itself in will end up being an opportunity for them to outshine and overcome all the obstacles they face.

fourdeucer on April 27, 2011 at 12:29 PM

I am 40 and expect $0.0 from Medicare and SS, which in turn has made me a very good saver. I max out my 401k and IRA. But I am fortunate and most people cannot do this. So we need to preserve as much as we can for the poor.

If I were given the choice to never have my SS/Medicare taxes raised in exchange for surrendering every cent of benefits, I would take it in a heartbeat.

Chuck Schick on April 27, 2011 at 12:30 PM

well hell the Boomers arent stupid!

Under Ryan’s plan they keep full Medicare, and we in Gen X and after take the premium support plan (which I whole heartedly endorse!!)

Under the Obama plan they get rationed by the iMAB panel

Carousel!

Seniors better vote GOP in ’12 if they want full Medicare benefits, it is the only way they can keep what they have.

ginaswo on April 27, 2011 at 12:40 PM

while adults 18 to 29 show more support for Obama’s, 53% to 30%.

Dude, is there an app for that?

BobMbx on April 27, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Carousel!

Just make sure you’re a sandman.

BobMbx on April 27, 2011 at 12:42 PM

and again I ask the RNC to start fundraising using the Ryan Plan. I would give some dillydollars to support the Ryan plan. (I would gladly match the only $ Steele got form me, which was the Fire Pelosi! ad campaign)

It would be very successful and a good way to show the Congressional leadership that Americans support the plan.

I left a voicemail for Ryan, he has no donate button on his website.

ginaswo on April 27, 2011 at 12:42 PM

BobMBx this tune’s for you :0)

ginaswo on April 27, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Younger voters dont vote. Ryan has nothing to worry about.

paulsur on April 27, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Which goes to prove that young and dumb go together like PB & J.

MJBrutus on April 27, 2011 at 12:50 PM

As long as the seniors are going to be responsible adults, we can still control this thing. It’s when they act like Democrats and 21 year olds that I get despondent.

If seniors will use their heads, then we can neuter this nitwit in the White House and his Fellow Travelers.

Jaibones on April 27, 2011 at 12:50 PM

I don’t get the demigraphics. Younger folks, if they were smart, would understand the debt is going to be their problem in the future. Wanting budgets like Obama is going to crank out guarantees a dim outlook for them.

hawkdriver on April 27, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Its only a problem if you’re working. I know several young people that just don’t care if they work or not, and have no qualms about staying home and being paid not to work (welfare). (Personally disgusts me…)

dominigan on April 27, 2011 at 12:52 PM

People in my Cohort (Approaching 50) have long since dismissed the possibility of ever getting anything from SS/Medicare so the Ryan plan is actually a good deal.

Sinner on April 27, 2011 at 12:53 PM

That’s ‘cuz, like, that Ryan dude, like, isn’t as cool as, like, y’know, like, 0bama!

CurtZHP on April 27, 2011 at 12:53 PM

I think part of the problem is that our spending and debt numbers have become so big that they no longer feel real. Young people do hear them, but they sound so bad that they tell themselves “I must just not be understanding something properly. That sounds so terrible – our leaders would have never let the situation get that terrible.” I feel like I used to tell myself something like that.

I’m speaking here of the, comparatively few, young people who are actually paying attention, of course.

David Shane on April 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM

I think another problem is the mindset that its completely hopeless, and to go ahead and let the “corrupt capitalist” system collapse and suck up as much support as you can before it does.

dominigan on April 27, 2011 at 12:56 PM

I really feel sorry for the younger generations, it seems like they don’t have big dreams, big aspirations or ambitions.

fourdeucer on April 27, 2011 at 12:29 PM

I’ve noticed this for a while. They will only do enough to get by. Luckily my college-age daughter has turned out right (conservative!) and is absolutely disgusted with the apathy shown by her friends from high school, now that they are in college.

When I look at them, I despair for the future. When I talk with my daughter, I’m encouraged…

dominigan on April 27, 2011 at 12:59 PM

I really feel sorry for the younger generations, it seems like they don’t have big dreams, big aspirations or ambitions.
fourdeucer on April 27, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Blame our baby boomer parents. Growing up under their tutelage has left us increasingly cynical and nihilistic.

Vyce on April 27, 2011 at 1:02 PM

The support among those 50-64 years of age, 47/41, is actually more telling. After all, these are the people who have spent their lives paying into the system, and could be expected to be the most resentful of entitlement reform when they’re on the cusp of qualifying for them. Yet they seem more comfortable with Ryan’s overhaul than with Obama’s cuts-and-status-quo approach.

I’m in this age group (age 54), but we’ve been hearing for years that Social Security won’t be there for us. Ryan’s plan would make someone age 64 wait an additional 6 months to retire (big whoop!), and someone my age work another 15 years instead of 12 years before retirement (again, big whoop!), but most people aged 67-70 these days are healthy enough to work, and their long experience gives them great earning power–why tax younger people to put them out to pasture?

People aged 50-64 NOW were aged 20-34 in 1981 when President Reagan opened up tax-deductible IRA’s to everyone. We were young, dynamic, and ambitious, and welcomed the opportunity to sock away our own money (with a tax boost from the Government) to earn compounded returns for 30 to 40 years before retirement, while the Left was (even then) lamenting about lil’ ol’ ladies on fixed incomes living in boxes and eating dog food.

Only 18-29YO voters favor Obama’s plan, 53/30.

Today’s 18-29 year-olds were born in 1982 or later, and have no memory of the Carter “malaise” and “misery index”, gasoline lines four blocks long at 6 AM, so they have no experience of what Carter-on-steroids leads to. Yet these people, who might retire between 2050 and 2060, have the most to lose if entitlements are not reformed now!

What will the Gimme Generation get when there’s nothing left to give?

Steve Z on April 27, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Hurry! Change Ryan’s plan to exclude those currently 18-29 yrs old! I want them to be subsidizing me for a few years before they start to complain about their taxes…

Danny on April 27, 2011 at 1:29 PM

Why? Perhaps because they are used to making their own decisions for themselves.

You forgot one Ed. We also realize we’re also the first ones to lose out, having paid our whole lives, if we continue kicking this can down the road. When the economy comes to a screeching halt, we won’t have the time remaining in our lives to recover. I hope the folks my age planned ahead for the eventuality there won’t be any Social Security or Medicare when we get there. If you don’t plan for yourself, you’ll be a Walmart greeter until the day you die. I expect I’ll have a military retirement to rely on, at the rate we’re going, I might not even have that.

TulsAmerican on April 27, 2011 at 1:40 PM

It is true that I am “grandfathered.” That has very little to do with my preferences for Ryan. During my working years I paid marginal rates which were over twice as large as current rates. Both my real earnings and my savings were decreased by very high inflation. My contributions to social security over 46 years starting when I was 16 invested at two percent above inflation would give me more retirement income than I recieve from social security. Without inflation my pension would be worth much more. Without medicare and the high costs it induced in health care, my now decimated health insurance would be paying nearly as large a fraction of my health care costs as my health insurance and social security together pay.

What surprises me is that there ar so few of us seniors who favor Ryan.

burt on April 27, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Without medicare and the high costs it induced in health care, my now decimated health insurance would be paying nearly as large a fraction of my health care costs as my health insurance and social security medicare together pay.

burt on April 27, 2011 at 1:46 PM

What Obama plan?

hawksruleva on April 27, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Exactly. A speech does not a plan make.

slickwillie2001 on April 27, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Only 18-29YO voters favor Obama’s plan, 53/30.

Typical young people – so self-certain and such huge suckers for a rip-off.

Pay no attention to the thieves behind the curtain, kiddies – just keep those thumbs texting on Facebook.

disa on April 27, 2011 at 2:01 PM

The support among those 50-64 years of age, 47/41, is actually more telling.

More interesting demographic would’ve been those 50-55 years of age. If any of the seniors above 55 have been listening at all, they know they are exempt from any change. Those much younger (say, 40 and under) know Medicare in its current form will not be there for them, so reform doesn’t represent so much downside. Those just under the 55 cut-off, however, have much to resent and fear, if they get the sense that Ryan’s Medicare reform plan might hurt its beneficiaries—they put in something like 30 years of contributions, and some of them might have been hoping that Medicare would last another 20, 25 years.

novakyu on April 27, 2011 at 2:16 PM

I am 63 and I highly approve of Ryan’s budget. The caveat is that I would have approved of it if I were ten years younger because I care more about my country than about government benefits. In fact, I approved of the idea of Bush revamping Social Security, and was disappointed when he failed.

I have other health insurance and have arranged things so I can use it after retirement, Medicare notwithstanding. I don’t want to have to depend on Medicare, especially now that Obamacare has screwed around with it. I want nothing to do with any government panel that will decide if I can have a new hip at 85.

hachiban on April 27, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Seniors are smart enough to figure out that if entitlements are not restructured, along with the entire federal government, the US dollar becomes worthless and they lose even bigger. Beck calls it ‘the Weimar option’.

slickwillie2001 on April 27, 2011 at 5:55 PM