A new poll shows swing-state voters trust President Obama better than GOP rival Mitt Romney to handle Medicare.
A new Gallup poll finds voters in 12 battleground states saying Obama will better address the challenges facing Medicare, by 50 percent to 44. Among all voters surveyed nationally, Obama holds a 51-43 edge over Romney on the issue.
The poll, though, was conducted before a leaked video from a private fundraiser showed Romney claiming “47 percent” of voters were dependent on government and would vote for Obama.
Fifty-one percent say Obama and Biden have presented a plan for Medicare, with 46 percent saying they have not. Forty-four percent say Romney and Ryan have offered a plan, with 50 percent saying the GOP ticket has not presented a Medicare reform plan.
Ryan, though, has authored a budget plan, passed by the House, that included significant changes to Medicare.
Battleground-state voters show little optimism that either ticket will be able to strengthen the program. Thirty-three percent say Obama would strengthen Medicare, with 32 percent saying he would weaken the program and 32 percent not expecting much difference.
Thirty-one percent say Romney would strengthen Medicare, 36 percent say he would weaken it and 28 percent say he would make little difference.
Swing-state voters are also doubtful that Medicare will still provide Americans with adequate healthcare in 20 years.
Forty-four percent said they were “optimistic” Medicare could provide adequate benefits in 20 years, with 53 percent “pessimistic.”
Democrats have made Ryan’s budget and its Medicare reforms a centerpiece of their attacks on the GOP ticket, claiming the changes would raise costs for seniors. Ryan’s budget would move the program to a subsidized private insurance model for those under 55.
The president, on the stump, has also cited a study from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal advocacy group with ties to the administration, claiming that the GOP ticket’s plans for Medicare would mean more profits for insurance companies.
Republicans, though, have shown they are willing to fight back over the issue, with Romney’s campaign charging Obama with already weakening the program with “disastrous cuts” and using the savings to pay for his healthcare reform bill.
Romney ads accuse Obama of cutting $716 billion from Medicare, but the president’s campaign says those reductions were to projected Medicare growth estimated over the next decade and that the savings came from targeting waste and fraud.
The USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted among swing-state voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.