By Sam Baker - 08/21/12 05:55 PM EDT
The public doesn’t like Paul RyanPaul RyanLevin: Trade angst spans well beyond testy election-year politics Conservative groups deliver last-minute warning to GOP on spending bill Stars, lawmakers honor Boys and Girls Club's Youth of the Year MORE’s Medicare plan — or Paul Ryan — according to a new poll.
Forty-nine percent of voters oppose Ryan’s controversial proposal to privatize Medicare, according to the latest survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Ryan’s selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate also got low marks: 46 percent said Ryan was a “poor” or “only fair” choice.
Democrats have tried to make Ryan’s controversial budget proposals the centerpiece of the presidential campaign, and they’re especially focused on his proposal to convert Medicare into subsidies for private insurance.
Romney and Ryan’s plan would give seniors a choice between traditional Medicare and subsidized private coverage. Ryan’s initial proposal, which the GOP-controlled House approved in 2011, would have privatized the program entirely.
Although the Ryan plan is a hot topic in Washington, the Pew poll shows that voters don’t associate him with it. Only 23 percent polled correctly identified the proposal as Ryan’s. Seventeen percent thought President Obama came up with the idea, even though he strongly opposes it and has attacked it repeatedly over the past two years.
Independents disapprove of the Ryan plan 49-34 percent, Pew found.
Independent voters also sided against Romney’s decision to pick Ryan for the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket. Forty-two percent said it was a “fair” or “poor” choice, while only 30 percent rated it “good” or “excellent.”
Despite the misgivings among GOP strategists, 60 percent of Republicans surveyed in the Pew poll gave high marks to Ryan’s selection. The finding matches the enthusiasm he has helped stir up on the campaign trail.
Overall, disapproval of Ryan might not mean a lot — the Pew poll also found widespread dissatisfaction with Vice President Biden. Fifty-six percent of respondents said he has done a “fair” or “poor” job as vice president, while only 27 percent said he has been “good” or “excellent.”
Just 51 percent of Democrats gave Biden a positive review. Majorities of both Republicans and independents disapproved.