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Seniors <3 Paul Ryan

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Grandma isn't scared of Paul Ryan.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows 41 percent of Americans view the new GOP vice presidential nominee favorably, while 37 percent rate him unfavorably -- slightly improved from last week's polling.

Among seniors, though, the numbers are even better for Ryan: 50 percent favorable and 35 percent unfavorable. Fully one-third of seniors say they have a strongly favorable view of the Wisconsin congressman, while one-quarter have a strongly unfavorable view.

The numbers suggest Democrats' attempts to turn Ryan's Medicare proposal against the GOP haven't stuck yet among the most pivotal group: seniors. If a Medicare attack was working, after all, seniors would likely be the first group to start deserting Ryan.

Ryan's Medicare plan, of course, isn't designed to affect current seniors; it would turn the entitlement into a voucher program for future beneficiaries, starting in 2023. But that doesn't mean Democrats haven't tried to use it for leverage with elderly voters -- a reliable and important voting group in the 2012 election -- and one that generally favors the GOP.

Democrats initially hailed Ryan's selection as a game-changer in senior-heavy districts and states like Florida, and they've been pushing hard the message that it would "end Medicare as we know it" and could lead to an additional $6,000 in out-of-pocket costs for seniors (without specifying that it's future seniors, of course).

“His plan . . . would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health-care costs to seniors,” President Obama said after Ryan's selection was announced. A recent Obama campaign ad makes the same claim.

A left-leaning group has even run an ad in Wisconsin that featured a faux Ryan pushing a wheelchair-bound elderly woman off a cliff.

Republicans, meanwhile, have pushed back hard and emphasized that current seniors would not be affected. Ryan even appeared during a campaign event in Florida with his mother and drove home that position.

"Our plan does not affect the benefits for people who are in or near retirement. It's a promise that was made, and it's a promise that must be kept," Ryan said at the event with his mother.

Polling still shows that Ryan's plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program is an unpopular idea; a Pew poll on Tuesday shows 34 percent of American adults favor the plan, while 49 percent oppose it.

(We should also note that just 30 percent say they've heard a lot about the plan, so it's not like this issue is done being litigated.)

But at least for now, the Medicare plan is not scaring seniors away from Ryan, and that's both a welcome sign for Republicans and a testament to their early messaging on Medicare.

Obama leads in NBC/WSJ poll: A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Obama leading Romney 48 percent to 44 percent.

The poll shows voters continue to process negative information about Romney, with 44 percent saying what they've heard in recent weeks has made them feel more negative toward Romney, as opposed to 32 percent who said it has made them feel more positive. Overall, Romney's favorable/unfavorable split is 38/44.

On the congressional ballot, voters say they would prefer Democrats to control Congress by a 47 percent to 42 percent margin. That's up from a one-point Democratic advantage last month. The GOP brand remains significantly worse than the Democratic brand.

Democratic convention announces new speakers: The Democratic National Convention has announced a slate of women to speak in Charlotte in two weeks.

The new additions:

  • Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Senate candidate in Wisconsin
  • Illinois congressional candidate and former Veterans Affairs Department official Tammy Duckworth
  • Sandra Fluke, of Rush Limbaugh fame
  • Denise Juneau, Montana superintendent of public instruction
  • Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America
  • Caroline Kennedy
  • Lilly Ledbetter, of Fair Pay Act fame
  • Actress Eva Longoria, an Obama campaign co-chairwoman
  • Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Md.) and other female Democratic senators
  • Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Race to face Barrow close: The GOP primary to face Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) was down to the wire Tuesday night.

State Rep. Lee Anderson led businessman Rick Allen by 153 votes with 97 percent of precincts reporting, according to AP results. The winner will face Barrow in a district that GOP state lawmakers redrew to be much more Republican. Barrow is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.

In other runoffs Tuesday in Georgia, state Rep. Doug Collins defeated talk show host Martha Zoller for the GOP nomination in the Republican-leaning new 9th district. Collins is a heavy favorite to win the seat in November.

Zoller was backed by Sarah Palin and other leading conservatives, including Sean Hannity, Herman Cain, Mark Levin and Erick Erickson.


A new Romney ad makes the case that Obamacare isn't "free health care" and hits Obama for "raiding $716 billion from Medicare."

Romney says he's spending money more wisely than Obama.

Todd Akin has launched a petition to gather support, but the Web page initially included a few misspellings. Oh, and it still includes a fetus.

Ron Paul has reached a deal with Republican National Convention organizers on a dispute over delegates. And Newt Gingrich has released his delegates.

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) releases a new Wisconsin Senate ad hitting newly crowned GOP nominee and former governor Tommy Thompson for not releasing tax returns.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is up with an independent expenditure ad in Montana hitting Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) for voting for pay raises for himself while voting against minimum wage increases.

Sen. Maria Cantwell's (D-Wash.) GOP opponent swears at a reporter, apologizes, and then retracts the apology. What got him so steamed? Questions about Akin.

A PAC associated with the Democratic Governors Association is going up with its second ad of the Montana governor's race.


"Akin comments expose GOP rift over abortion" -- Ed O'Keefe and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post

"Patients Would Pay More if Romney Restores Medicare Savings, Analysts Say" -- Jackie Calmes, New York Times

"Independents favor cooperation, are dissatisfied with political system" -- Dan Balz and Jon Cohen, Washington Post