Jon McHenry, July 3

Jon McHenry’s quote on Republican messaging on the ObamaCare ruling in Talking Points Memo:

“It’s not as clean and on-message as Republican strategists might prefer,” said Jon McHenry, an unaligned D.C.-based GOP consultant and pollster. “But it’s a one-day, inside-the-Beltway, ‘what are these guys doing?’ story as opposed to taking the tax issue off the table for the next five months.”

Down ballot, the tax argument still works, McHenry said.

“[Senate] Democrats aren’t going to put Mitt Romney on air defending their position. They’re just not,” he said. “It’s more a missed opportunity for the Romney campaign than it is a detriment to other [GOP] campaigns.”

For the full article, please click here.

Whit Ayres, June 8

Whit Ayres’ comments on President Obama’s health care law in Politico:

“President Obama never persuaded the majority of the country that the direction he wanted to go with health care was the right direction,” said GOP pollster Whit Ayres. “Consequentially, he can’t possibly run on it because Americans think overwhelmingly it will not decrease their health care costs, it will increase their health insurance premiums, increase their taxes, increase the deficit and hurt the quality of their care.

“That is a stunning accomplishment for a major piece of legislation,” Ayres added, with tongue firmly in cheek.

For the full article, please click here.

March 2012 Survey for YG Policy Center

Our March survey for the YG Policy Center, conducted with 1,000 registered voters nationally, focused on attitudes regarding the 2010 health care reform law.

The results show that, nearly two years after its passage, voters remain opposed to the health care reform law, are skeptical of its effects, and think President Obama’s claims about the law before its passage are not true.

Our presentation of the results can be seen here. An analysis memo written for the YG Network is available here, and the full results are available here.

Whit Ayres, February 14/Medicare

Whit Ayres’ comments on Paul Ryan and Medicare in Kaiser Health News:

“Ryan is a hero to conservative Republicans,” said Republican pollster Whit Ayres. “They see him as a brave guy who took on a program that is going bankrupt.”

For the full article, please click here.

The Context of the Health Care Debate in 2012

Jon McHenry discusses the context of the health care debate in the 2012 elections.

The Right Way To Talk About Entitlements

Published on March 30, 2011 | Resurgent Republic | Jon McHenry

Much of our most recent survey focused on budget issues.  Two questions specifically touched on entitlements, and together make a powerful point about how conservatives can talk about entitlements while maintaining support among a majority of voters.

The first question puts the conservative discussion of entitlements in the context of budget deficits:

Congressman A says we should not balance the budget on the backs of our seniors and the poor.  We need to cut back federal spending, but Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid should be off limits. 

Congressman B says we will never get the deficit under control without dealing with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,  because those three programs make up more than half of all federal domestic spending.

In this framing, voters agree with Congressman A by a 53 to 41 percent margin.  Independents agree with Congressman A by a similar margin, 51 to 43 percent, with Democrats agreeing by a 71 to 23 percent margin.  Republicans agree with Congressman B by a 59 to 35 percent margin.  Women agree with Congressman A by a 60 to 32 percent margin while men agree with Congressman B by a 51 to 45 percent margin.

The second question puts the conservative discussion of entitlements in the context of preserving the programs for the future:

Congressman A says Social Security will not face budget problems until 2037, so we need to focus our attention on our immediate budget problems and leave Social Security alone.  Take Social Security off the table.   

Congressman B says Social Security is in real trouble because of so many retiring baby boomers. We can save Social Security with minor benefit adjustments for people age 55 and under, and we should do that now rather than wait until the program faces a crisis.

In this context, voters overall agree with reform-minded conservatives by a 54 to 39 percent margin, with the same 54 to 39 percent margin seen among Independents.  Republicans agree by a 70 to 23 percent margin while Democrats agree with Congressman A by a 51 to 40 percent margin.  Where there is a split by gender on the first framing of reform, both men (by a 59 to 34 percent margin) and women (by a 50 to 42 percent margin) agree with Congressman B in this context.

American voters are open to entitlement reform, but the emphasis needs to be on preserving the programs for the future rather than addressing current deficits.

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