Paul Ryan’s plan puts 2012 elderly vote in play

Glenn Thrush & Abby Phillip

Democrats still smarting from their 2010 mid-term defeat see Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s controversial plan to overhaul Medicare as political aspirin, a cure for just about everything that ails them.

But for Barack Obama it’s more like Geritol — a targeted treatment for his chronic aches and pains with older voters.

Obama’s 2008 campaign was fueled by youthful enthusiasm and billed as a generational upheaval. But older voters, especially white working-class conservatives, were not a natural hope-and-change crowd, and he lost among seniors by nine points to John McCain. Many of them simply stayed home.

That skepticism, bordering on hostility, has carried over to his presidency.

Over-65 voters have given Obama the lowest marks of any age cohort in every weekly Gallup presidential approval survey taken since Obama took office. Last week, only 36 percent of seniors approved of his performance, seven points less than Obama’s overall approval rating and 12 points lower than his positive rating among 18-to-24 year-olds.

But Ryan’s plan, embraced by most Republicans, gives Obama a big opportunity in 2012 to regain lost ground in key battleground states and narrow the generation gap. “It finally gives us an argument to make with seniors… It’s a godsend,” said a Democratic operative allied with Obama who sees the issue as a way to make up lost ground with seniors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Florida…

…“The elderly more than almost any other age group are very, very sensitive to entitlement programs,” said Paul Beck, a presidential scholar at Ohio State University…

The complete article is at Politico.
Update: At GayPatriot B. Daniel Blatt doesn’t think the Democrats should get too excited about the Over-65 vote just yet, and sites Don Surber’s column as proof. A reader at GayPatriot left this link in the comments column. Follow the link to a PolitiFact column that shows the Democrats are being dishonest about Ryan’s proposals for Seniors. But you probably knew that…

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