Neither the White House nor Paul Ryan have swept the nation’s voters with a clear majority when considering our budget future, as we have reported here before. But according to the most recent numbers from Rasmussen, getting the word out about the long term benefits of fiscal probity is proving more difficult than even seasoned observers anticipated. The number of people solidly supporting the Ryan plan is holding steady, but the undecideds are coming off the fence and seem to be heading in the wrong direction.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 26% of Likely U.S. Voters continue to favor the budget proposal by Ryan that claims to cut federal spending by $4 trillion over the next decade. But that’s unchanged from a month ago.
Now, however, 34% oppose Ryan’s proposal, up from 27% in the previous survey. A sizable 40% still don’t know enough about the plan to have any opinion of it. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
The biggest reason buried in the numbers seems, once again, to be entitlement reform. Of the respondents, only 21% – barely one in five – “favor the plan for changing Medicare that is included in the Ryan budget proposal.” Perhaps even more distressing to fiscal hawks, an overwhelming majority feel that no changes to entitlement programs should be made without a direct vote on it by the American people. That’s not going to happen, of course, but it seems a telling indicator.
From the beginning it was obvious that getting these types of fiscally responsible changes put through was going to require a massive grassroots educational effort to get voters informed about the cliff we’re currently zooming toward. But if these numbers hold, the message isn’t getting out there. That will not only severely endanger any chances of a vote succeeding in Congress, but could shorten the political lifespan of those supporting the changes.