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November 21, 2003

Alternative Poll to AARP on Drug Bill

Stephen Moore of the Club for Growth, the economic rightwing organization, is deadset against the Medicare drug bill and thinks it could be a political disaster for the GOP:

Republican political strategists are convinced that this bill will earn Bush the gratitude of senior-citizen voters, who will flock into the Republican column in November 2004.

This is a potentially tragic political miscalculation on the part of the GOP deep thinkers. In fact, the Medicare prescription-drug bill could have just the opposite electoral effect: It could easily antagonize enough seniors to bring an end to the Republican majority in 2004.

As evidence of the political unpopularity of the drug bill, consider the poll results released this week by the Club for Growth. The poll of 800 seniors finds that retirees' support for the bill transforms into hostility when those over the age of 65 are told the full details of what this bill would actually provide. For example, when seniors are told that as many as one in three of them "may lose" his private drug coverage, 71 percent say they disapprove of the bill. When seniors are told that they will have to pay premiums of roughly $500 to $600 a year, 72 percent say they oppose the bill.

As the researchers at Basswood Research, which conducted the poll, conclude: "The more seniors learn about the prescription drug bill, the less they like it." Only 19 percent of seniors support the bill when they are informed of the full costs and the full risks.

This poll is probably stacked against the bill, but I bet it is closer to reality than the fake AARP poll. My experience is that most seniors will calculate their health costs almost to the penny-- and if the details of the plan are bad news, they'll be royally pissed at the GOP for promoting such a ratty little plan.

Who knows-- the best politics for the Dems may be to verbally oppose the law, but lose the fight and see the law pass-- with the GOP taking the fall when the public sees the consequences. And with the money allocated, it will be a lot easier for Dems to push for a "fix" of the law, rather than having to push a whole new law.

Posted by Nathan at November 21, 2003 09:37 PM