The public is just beginning to pay attention to the key issues of the 2012 presidential campaign. Even at this early stage, there is a clear trend in opinion against vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's Medicare voucher program. On this and other key issues, Ryan's very explicit positions and legislative proposals spell doom for the Romney campaign. Ryan's record and a Republican platform endorsing those extreme views are Romney's albatross.
A Pew Research poll, August 23, exposes the impact of one key campaign. Medicare Voucher Plan Remains Unpopular  captures the impact of timing for Ryan's exposure as a hard core, right wing extremist.
Basically, Ryan destroys Medicare by turning it into a voucher system. Seniors would receive a grant from the Federal government to purchase their own coverage (on those useless exchanges Obama created, perhaps). The additional costs  represent 35% of median senior income in 2022 and go up from there to 50% of median income by 2050. A Republican death panel, this approach will deny a major portion of seniors of part of all of their medical services.
The Pew poll referenced in the graph was conducted just days after Romney's August 11 announcement of his vice presidential choice. It is a good starting point for the impact of increasing awareness by the public and the direction that may take.
The awareness numbers on vouchers (see graph above), have you heard, show a 50% increase in members of the public who have heard a lot about the program, 20% to 30%. Collapse the heard a lot and heard a little into a general awareness number. That figure is up by only two points from 70% in June 2011 to 72% today.
Among the 30% who "have heard" about the plan, there is a strong shift against vouchers. Today, 49% oppose vouchers compared to 45% in June 2011. That four point increase in opposition came with a two point increase in general awareness. As the campaign continues, using that two to four point awareness-opposition ratio, public disapproval of Ryan's voucher program would be above 60%.
Ryan said he's not Romney when asked about his position opposing abortion even in cases of rape. Romney's the boss. But Romney picked Ryan knowing full well his radical record. Candidate John McCain found out just how influential a vice presidential pick can be.
How many times will Ryan need to repudiate his record and defer to the boss? How will that make Ryan look?
There is plenty of time to draw more attention is drawn to Ryan's extremist agenda. Bringing his position into focus on Medicare, abortion, and tax breaks for the very rich will keep Romney on the defensive and drain his campaign resources.
The real shame is that Ryan's radical agenda and the general inanity of presidential campaigns leaves the major issues of our time out of the dialog.
What will happen with the increasing pace of climate change  and how can we mitigate the impact?
Why is President Obama carrying out the Bush doctrine of bullying and attacking  countries that fail to cooperate with administration policies?
How do we get rid of the crony capitalism  that has ruined the economy and cased so much suffering here and around the world?
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