To get a sense of the enormous gamble Mitt Romney is taking by choosing Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, first remember that Florida is crucial to Romney’s electoral strategy.
But Florida is also packed with an aging population of baby boomers who could be spooked by the Ryan budget, which includes a drastic revamping of Medicare.
It hasn’t been polled for a while, but most polls of Ryan’s budget plan don’t produce sparkling reviews.
Ryan’s proposal didn’t poll well in a May 2011 CNN survey, which showed that 48 percent of respondents preferred President Barack Obama’s approach to Medicare compared to 39 percent on the plan spearheaded by Ryan. Overall, about 20 percent more people opposed Ryan’s Medicare plan than supported it.
The poll also found that both younger and older voters were cool to Ryan’s plan. Forty-three percent of voters 64 years old and younger thought Ryan’s plan’s changes would make things at least a “little worse off.” And 58 percent of respondents 65 and older said the same thing — including 33 percent who said it would make them “a lot worse off.”
Finally, 50 percent of voters overall thought it would make the country worse off as a whole, compared with 38 percent who said it would make it better.
The most eye-popping stat from the poll? More than a quarter of Republicans — and 35 percent of self-identified conservatives — opposed the Ryan plan.
A look at Florida specifically shows things are even more daunting for the Romney/Ryan team to gather support. Though more than one-third of respondents weren’t sure about Ryan’s plan in a July 2011 Public Policy Polling survey, 16 percent more opposed than supported it.
Finally, another PPP poll in April found that Ryan, along with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, had the most potentially negative effect on the Romney ticket. When Ryan was added to the hypothetical ticket, Obama’s lead over Romney expanded nationally by 2 points. The poll also showed that 9 percent more voters viewed him unfavorably than favorably, though a majority wasn’t sure.