Poll after poll is reporting the same basic finding: the American people are worried about the deficit, but they do not support cutting Medicare or Medicaid, nor do they back raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67.
The latest survey to confirm that finding comes from McClatchy/Marist. As you can see, the voters in the chart above oppose cutting Medicare by a 42-point margin and oppose Medicaid cuts by a similar margin. By an almost 2-1 margin, they also say it is more important to compromise than to stand on principle.
But here’s the twist: The numbers in the chart above are all from voters who self-identified as Republicans. There’s not an independent or Democrat among ‘em. And overall, the level of support or opposition among GOP voters is not that different from voters in general. On the issue of Medicare cuts, for example, just 26 percent of Republican voters support the idea, compared to 23 percent of voters in general.
So again, if Republicans in Washington want to march off the fiscal cliff for the cause of slashing entitlements, and more importantly, if they want to push the country into default by refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless entitlements are slashed, they may turn around and discover that the little parade that they’re trying to lead has very few followers.
– Jay Bookman