Though the Purple Strategies poll released today contains some good news for the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket, there’s a more important number that could shape the scope of the election over the coming three months. By a 48 to 40 per cent margin, voters in 12 key swing states said that they trust President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden more to “protect Medicare,” a subject that looks to become a major topic of debate until Election Day.
Purple Strategies pollster Doug Usher went as far as saying that if the election became a referendum on Medicare, the Romney-Ryan ticket would probably lose.
“If this becomes a debate about Medicare and the future of Medicare, and it’s argued on that ground, I think that harms the Romney campaign,” Usher said.
The poll underscores the risk that Romney took in choosing Ryan: the discussion has already shifted from the economy to Medicare over the past few days.
The Obama-Biden ticket leads in four crucial states highlighted in Purple Strategies’ August survey — Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Colorado. Florida is the closest, as Romney and Ryan trail there by only a point. In the other three states, they fall behind by double digits.
Here’s a look:
Photo: Brett LoGiurato/Business Insider (Data: Purple Strategies)
Another problem for the Romney-Ryan ticket in two of the states — Colorado and Ohio — is that voters identify more with the Obama campaign’s argument that the Ryan budget “ends Medicare” and provides more tax breaks for higher-income earners. In Florida and Virginia, more voters think the Ryan budget would reduce the deficit and help Medicare.
The Romney campaign’s pushback has been that Obama is the one who has cut funding from Medicare to “pay for Obamacare.” But while Ryan’s budget repeals the president’s Affordable Care Act, it would also contain the same Medicare cuts.
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