Bloomberg leads its latest poll with the news that Paul Ryan is polling worse than anyone in the Republican Party save Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. Looking closer, that’s a bit misleading: A majority of Americans dislike Palin and Gingrich, and a majority are unsure what they think of Ryan. But they’re not unsure what they think of Ryan’s Medicare plan.
Bloomberg’s pollers asked this question in three different ways. First, they asked whether respondents were more worried that Republicans would take Congress and “implement their proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and many other domestic programs” or Democrats would hold onto power and “continue their current spending policies.” Republicans proved scarier by eight points. Then they asked about whether a proposal “to replace traditional Medicare so that individuals buy their own private insurance with the help of government subsidies” would make you better or worse off. Worse off led by 23 points. Then they asked whether knowing a Republican candidate “wants to change Medicare to a private pay system with government subsidies” would make him or her more or less attractive. Less attractive took it in a 14-point landslide. So whether you speak about the plan vaguely or specifically, whether you mention its Republican roots or not, it’s very, very unpopular.
Which perhaps explains why, elsewhere in the poll, the Democratic Party easily outpolls both the tea party and the Republican Party, and President Obama remains by far the most popular major political figure in the country. All in all, it’s not a very cheering survey for the GOP.