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CBS has new polling out today that shows a dichotomy best displayed in these two graphs.

CBS medicare poll
CBS medicare poll

In other words, they've been convinced by unrelenting Beltway and media focus on a failing Medicare that the program is in dire straits, but they still hate the Republican Vouchercare.

A new CBS News poll shows that Americans have mixed feelings about what should happen to Medicare: While 53 percent say the program needs fundamental changes, 58 percent say it should continue the way it is set up now.

Americans were asked which of three statements comes closest to their views: "Medicare works pretty well and only minor changes are necessary to make it work better"; "There are some good things about Medicare, but fundamental changes are needed"; or "Medicare has so much wrong with it that we need to completely rebuild it."

Twenty-seven percent - including 36 percent of Democrats - said only minor changes are needed. Thirteen percent, meanwhile, said the program must be completely rebuilt. But 53 percent says Medicare needs fundamental changes -- even though there are good things about it. That includes a majority of Republicans and independents, and 43 percent of Democrats....

Respondents were also asked if they would like to see Medicare "continue the way it is set up now, as a program that pays the doctors and hospitals that treat senior citizens" or "if they think it should become "a program that gives senior citizens payments towards the purchase of private insurance."

....

Just 31 percent, meanwhile, said Medicare should become "a program that gives senior citizens payments towards the purchase of private insurance." Even among Republicans, less than half (43 percent) support turning Medicare into a payment program.

It's not poor messaging, it's not the Democrats' "Mediscare" tactics making the Republican plan so unpopular. It's the plan.

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