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Claire McCaskill

Public Policy Polling was in the field in four Senate battleground states this month (Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, and Ohio) on behalf of Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy For America, MoveOn.org and CREDO Action, testing on key safety net programs, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. These states are key for the Dems, with the reelection of Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (OH), Claire McCaskill (MO), John Tester (MT), and Amy Klobuchar (MN) in the offing next year.

The findings should shore up Democratic support of key safety net programs. On Medicare and Medicaid, PPP found:

McCaskill's Missouri shows the largest divide in surveys done by the Democratically friendly Public Policy Polling, especially on Medicare. When asked, "In order to reduce the national debt, would you support or oppose cutting spending on Medicare, which is the government health insurance program for the elderly?" just 19 percent of respondents said they would, while an overwhelming 77 percent said they would oppose cuts.

Similarly, 20 percent back cuts in Brown's Ohio, while 76 percent oppose them. In Tester's Montana, it's 24 percent favoring cuts and 71 percent against. Just 26 percent of Minnesotans would want Klobuchar to vote to cut Medicare, while 69 percent say to vote against.

The numbers are almost as sharp on support for cutting Medicaid in all four states: Ohio is 33 percent in favor to 61 percent against; Missouri is 32 percent to 63 percent; Montana is 36 percent to 59 percent; and Minnesota 33 to 62 percent.

The Social Security numbers are just as sharp:

In order to reduce the national debt, would you support or oppose cutting spending on Social Security, which is the retirement program for the elderly?

Ohio: 16% support, 80% oppose
Missouri: 17% support, 76% oppose
Montana: 20% support, 76% oppose
Minnesota: 23% support, 72% oppose

Tester shouldn't be tempted to get all deficit peacocky on this one. His opponent in 2012, Rep. Denny Rehberg, was one of just a few House Republicans to vote against the Ryan budget, presumably because he knew what a toxic proposal it is. It would be foolish in the extreme for Tester to try to run to the right of Rehberg on that one. For Sherrod Brown, this polling shows that his strong and ongoing support of safety net programs is right where he needs to be.

Klobuchar and McCaskill, however, might have some problems. Klobuchar has been making noises about tying the debt ceiling to deficit reduction, a scenario that has thus far been all about cutting those programs.

But by far the Dem who is the most potential trouble on these issues is Claire McCaskill, co-sponsor of a disastrous spending cuts bill that would destroy Social Security and Medicare. She has since vowed to protect Social Security, but also hasn't dropped her support for the very bad spending cap bill, a bill that doesn't exempt these programs.

It's pretty clear that the national mood matches that found in these states: the American public doesn't want to see Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security sacrificed to the deficit gods. Dems need to keep that in mind, but they also need to remember that when Republicans are talking about the deficit, they're not actually talking about the deficit. They don't care about the deficit, they care about privatizing anything that isn't nailed down. The added bonus for them would be finally destroying these programs that have kept a strong, Democratic coalition together for generations.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon May 23, 2011 at 12:40 PM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

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Comment Preferences

  •  GOP goal: destabilizing democracy (11+ / 0-)
    It's pretty clear that the national mood matches that found in these states: the American public doesn't want to see Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security sacrificed to the deficit gods. Dems need to keep that in mind, but they also need to remember that when Republicans are talking about the deficit, they're not actually talking about the deficit. They don't care about the deficit, they care about privatizing anything that isn't nailed down. The added bonus for them would be finally destroying these programs that have kept a strong, Democratic coalition together for generations.

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Mon May 23, 2011 at 12:45:26 PM PDT

  •  I don't live in any of those (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, bythesea

    three Democrats' states -- I also will not be contributing a penny for any of them.  I know they are not as bad as the Republicans, but I'll rely on the citizens of their States to make the right decision.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Mon May 23, 2011 at 12:48:54 PM PDT

  •  We have to protect the Senate Majority (17+ / 0-)

    So I urge Claire to protect her sorry excuse for a Democratic Senate seat and buy a clue.

    Here's a metaphorical nickle, Ms. McCaskill. Use it for a down payment.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Mon May 23, 2011 at 12:49:01 PM PDT

    •  Claire it toast. (7+ / 0-)

      Living in the 2nd reddest county here in rurl Misery, she polls below genital warts as it is.

      But...not every rurl Dem is a crawl-over-glass Dem and the indies?  All 9 of em see her for what she really is: a moderate Republican.  Either way, they won't be voting for her.  Yes, either Aiken or Steeleman are batshit, insane wingnuts but then so is every Republican in this state.

      She'll lose.  She's gonna have trouble raising money unless she gets tons of outside help because the crawl-over-glass Dems might hold their nose and vote for her but they sure as hell won't give her a dime of money.

      Gawd I hate being a purity troll but she stinks.

      "I'm not writing to make conservatives happy. I want them to hate my opinions. I'm not interested in debating them. I want to stop them." - Steve Gilliard

      by grog on Mon May 23, 2011 at 12:53:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know if she will lose, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        duckhunter, blue aardvark

        but there are many Democrats who see her as you do.

        WWRHD? What Would Robin Hood Do?

        by TomP on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:12:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "purity troll" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angstall, blue aardvark

        is a phrase used to silence criticism.  More and better Democrats.

        The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

        by Punditus Maximus on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:19:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This indy progressive won't vote for her (0+ / 0-)

        Learned my lesson voting for "extend the Bush tax cuts" Carnahan--vote didn't matter  in the scheme of things anyway and I felt like I needed a shower after voting.  I'm progressive, not necessarily democrat (dems were historically the southern conservative party--the antithesis of my beliefs...they transformed somewhat to a liberal role as Republicans took the Southern conservative vote following the Civil Rights Act, but there are still way too many conservadems calling the shots for me to support the party itself.)

        There are three options in voting:  voting for some one, voting against someone, and withholding the vote.  I choose the latter.  It's a vote of "no confidence."  Running to the right loses my vote.

        Obama will get the same treatment unless he vetoes any SS or Medicare shenanigans.  (I would give him credit for a veto override, but not for surrendering without a fight.)

        If you ask "what color is the poster" when someone criticizes the President's policy or track record, you are probably a racist. If you assume white progressives don't like the President's policies because of his skin color, you are definitely a racist.

        by Celtic Pugilist on Mon May 23, 2011 at 09:11:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  She should really know better. (4+ / 0-)

      Her opposition isn't that strong, and she could make a really good case for gov't in light of the disasters hitting MO, the need to keep fundiing warning systems (GOP cutting NOAA's satellite program that povides warnings) and the need for effective first responders and relief.  We can save billions on defense, but see are te real threats in her state.  Get. A. Clue.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:22:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very bad poll question - if this is the Ryan plan (8+ / 0-)

    they're referring to.

    From my comment in the Recommended diary, since the Ryan plan doesn't try using these "savings" for national debt reduction but for tax cuts for the wealthy, the real questions here should be:

    "In order to pay for tax cuts, would you support cutting benefits for (Social Security or Medicare)?"  

    Or if you're being even more honest with the person:

    "In order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest tax payers, would you support cutting benefits for (Social Security or Medicare)?"

    I'll bet the numbers would be even more extreme.

    I would love to see the poll ask

    "In order to give tax cuts to the wealthiest tax payers would support or oppose the Republican plan to increase your out-of-pocket costs for Medicare by $6000 or more per year while reducing your coverage and/or work another two to five years to get your full Social Security benefits because you're paying for the rich to get their tax cuts?"

    •  What savings? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HeyMikey, Mimikatz

      If Medicare is going to stay the same for everyone over 55 there can't be any savings for over 10 years and then very little after that.

      Well maybe I am wrong on that.  If there is no Medicare then seniors will be dying earlier so it is actually a Social Security fix.

      Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

      by NCJim on Mon May 23, 2011 at 12:59:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's why "savings" is in quotation marks. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HeyMikey

        The poll question is implying that there would be savings that could be used to pay down the national debt.  The CBO's estimate is that the plan would actually cost more money in the long run because it does nothing to hold down the cost of care, except for limiting the growth of the federal contribution to the vouchers to the cost of living adjustment (which conveniently leaves out two of the most rapidly increasing items - food and fuel).  That means no savings to the government, but increased costs to seniors, increased payments to private business by those seniors, and the Republican "Die Quickly" plan is realized.

        •  Yeah, but that's only half the problem. (0+ / 0-)

          The GOP Medicare "solution" is full of shit, obviously. But there is, in fact, a serious Medicare finance problem. I don't think it's enough for us to criticize the GOP solution; I think we have to propose Medicare changes of our own. More in my other comment on this diary.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:21:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, it's called universal health care for (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HeyMikey, ColoTim

            everyone. Citizens with crappy, limited or no health insurance don't get good proactive care throughout their lives. Suddenly, they reach Medicare age, go to the doctor for the first time in decades, run a couple tests and these people are REALLY sick. That costs exponentially more money than if we had just managing their health all along. Plus seniors don't heal  as well and tend to have more complications, which also costs a lot of money.

            We treat people starting at birth. We watch and chart a small mole, so if it changes or grows even a bit,  it gets removed. It doesn't develop into skin cancer and metastasize into organs. And yes, I know a senior who had melanoma diagnosed at THAT stage. After almost two years of surgeries and chemotherapy -- painful and expensive -- he died anyway.

            We can't mitigate all of the expensive care in Medicare. But much of what costs so much -- cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, broken bones from falls, etc -- much of that can be screened for and managed in one's 30's, 40's and 50's.

            © grover. My sockpuppet is a furry blue muppet.

            by grover on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:55:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  That last question! Ryan Plan=Medicare Massacre! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim

      We have to reframe this debate.  I love your last question.  We should be referring to the Ryan Plan as "The Medicare Massacre!", the plan for surrendering your already-paid-for benefits and financial security to the rich--and it's the Republican Way!  Share your 'sacrifice' with other middle class people and surrender to the rich!

      When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

      by antirove on Mon May 23, 2011 at 02:14:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Darwin Award (8+ / 0-)

    for Conservadems. Great plan, trying to out-stupid the Republicans.

    A man, a plan, a canal, Panama

    by Karl Rover on Mon May 23, 2011 at 12:53:07 PM PDT

  •  Cutting the deficit is good. (0+ / 0-)

    Cutting Medicare by destroying it is bad.

    There is no need to cut Social Security for 50 years as it has already been paid for (I know that because I have been contributing every year for decades.)

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

    by NCJim on Mon May 23, 2011 at 12:54:30 PM PDT

  •  title typo -- needs another 'of' (0+ / 0-)

    Right now it's:

    Senate battleground polling shows imperative of protection Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

    The second of should go between 'protection' and 'Social'. Cheers.

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:01:15 PM PDT

  •  We don't want to be any less socialist (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen, HeyMikey, hazzcon

    than we already aren't.

    With kind regards,
    The American Electorate

  •  Medicare and Social Security should (4+ / 0-)

    have NEVER even been on the table. Ever. But they are thanks to newly-minted "deficit hawks" of both parties. And now we're being distracted by these issues that ought to be non-issues. As has been pointed out repeatedly, Social Security has been paid into for decades and does not have a solvency problem. The baby boom was accounted for in previous calculations in the 70s, 80s and 90s. But with this huge non-issue on the table, we'll ignore outrageous defense spending and continued wars.

    Democrats, I won't be impressed if you "protect" Social Security and Medicare because you helped make them vulnerable by allowing crazy-ass Republicans to control the narrative. You have to do more than that to call yourself a Democrat.

    •  Respectfully disagree. (0+ / 0-)

      While Social Security is more or less OK, Medicare cost growth is actually a huge problem. The GOP proposal to offload the burden of healthcare cost growth onto seniors is, of course, awful. But I don't see the Dems stepping up the plate with their own approach to controlling the growth in healthcare costs generally, or in Medicare. (Medicare cost growth is partly due to general healthcare cost growth and partly due to the aging of the Baby Boomers.) Obamacare's strengthening of MedPac is good, but it's not fast enough or strong enough.

      Social Security needs just modest tweaks and it will be fine. In any sane political system this would not be controversial.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:28:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Easy win by putting drug costs back on the table (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HeyMikey, angstall, Celtic Pugilist

        and allowing Medicare to negotiate what it reimburses for medication.  Record profits in pharmaceuticals since Medicare Plan D forbidding Medicare negotiating prices is a big clue.  Another big clue was the secret 'negotiations' resulting in the pre-preemptive removal of any provisions for drug price control from the big Health Care Reform bill.

        Other key gains are possible by more proactive public medicine and health-focused efforts to catch people on the path to contracting diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other long term conditions.  Also there are the many diseases involving screwed up immune systems, many apparently due to environmental factors as well as diet, sleep, and exercise.  The annual cost of drugs for many people on 'maintenance' programs, once they've contracted and lost ground with their health, can exceed annual salaries earned while working.  Failing to address the chemical exposures, pesticides genetically programmed into our foods, and other environmental sources affecting our immune system during the working years is costing us a great deal after damage is done and long-term health conditions develop.

        Pushing this onto 'personal responsibility' gets some people motivated enough to alter some things, but the change needed to result in lower health costs is far bigger.  We will not get enough compliance from a large enough percentage of the public to actually control costs.  Everyone does seem to know they need to eat right or better, exercise, reduce sources of stress and get preventive health care, but they are swimming upstream to achieve this, and prefer to eat what they want instead of what is best for them.  Most people won't succeed unless they are in groups focused on losing weight, eating right, exercise and doing what improves health.  This includes people age 50 and up as well...being 'middle-aged' or near retirement shouldn't mean exercise doesn't matter anymore.  So, we have to tackle this with 'social responsibility', and make the workplaces, food providers, schools and communities change what doesn't improve health for what does improve it.

        When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

        by antirove on Mon May 23, 2011 at 02:36:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  All that plus agriculture and energy policy. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          antirove

          Don't forget that we're subsidizing sugar, other simple carbs, and red meat, including the unhealthiest kind of red meat (corn fed), but not fresh fruits and veggies. And also subsidizing roads and fossil fuels, which tends to reduce walking and biking.

          "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

          by HeyMikey on Mon May 23, 2011 at 02:55:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Cutting Medicare solves nothing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angstall, HeyMikey

        No matter how you cut it, you're simply shifting costs.  The problem is the for profit healthcare setup in this country and the only solution (and everybody knows it, even if they won't acknowledge it) is single payer.

        Eliminate the insurance companies and you cut 30% of the cost of healthcare right off the top.  More importantly, the structural changes government run healthcare would bring about would keep costs from rising faster than inflation.

        "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."—Frederick Douglass

        by costello7 on Mon May 23, 2011 at 04:20:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent Joan. (8+ / 0-)

    I've written a few times about McCaskill's odious bill.  There is no way to reconcile no medicare cuts, no social security cuts and her bill.  

    She may well campaign on no cuts, but her bill requires it.  

    At some point in her career, she needs to decide if she is a Democrat.

    WWRHD? What Would Robin Hood Do?

    by TomP on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:10:47 PM PDT

  •  In the mid-to-late 1990's, (8+ / 0-)

    the deficit got gut, in fact we were running surpluses, because of cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

    Oops, my bad, we didn't cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, we raised tax rates on the wealthiest Americans.

    Bush Jr. cut those tax rates in 2001, and turned those surpluses into the largest deficits in U.S. history.

    In several generations, perhaps when the anti-New Dealers die off, we will come to a consensus that the best thing for solid economic growth and deficit reduction will be a strong and robust social safety net.

    Barack Obama in the Oval Office: There's a black man who knows his place.

    by Greasy Grant on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:13:21 PM PDT

  •  Beware words like "protect" and "cut." Be honest. (0+ / 0-)

    What's "protecting" or "cutting" is in the eye of the beholder. And it's absolutely true that the growth of Medicare spending on its current path is unsustainable.

    The GOP solution, "just spend less money" is terrible, obviously. But we must not fall into the trap of believing that nothing about Medicare needs to be changed.

    The truth is that the financial problems of Medicare--which are indeed dire--merely reflect the dire problems of US healthcare generally. Medicare costs so damn much because US healthcare costs so damn much. Anybody who rejects the GOP attempt to "cut" Medicare has the obligation to state what he or she favors as an alternative healthcare cost control.

    Me: I favor strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board (MedPac), which would determine what treatments to cover based on effectiveness data, and what to reimburse for them.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:16:13 PM PDT

  •  Your lips (0+ / 0-)

    to President Obama's ears.  We might be able to at least get him to delay the SS strafing run until after 2012.

    The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

    by Punditus Maximus on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:20:10 PM PDT

  •  Claire McCaskill is such a... (9+ / 0-)

    let down.

    “Sometimes, the most reasonable thing in the legislative process is to be unreasonable.” Mike Pence, R-Ind., on negotiating with the democrats.

    by dclawyer06 on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:21:53 PM PDT

  •  These numbers might help explain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    why nekkid Scottie Brown, the wannabe teabagger from MA, announced today that he would not be voting for the Ryan budget -- after, of course, having announced that he would be voting for it.

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Mon May 23, 2011 at 01:25:03 PM PDT

  •  on the fence senate democrates (0+ / 0-)

    Amy Klobuchar, Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, should think hard and well about voting with the republicans on Medicare, and Medicaid .
    They , I`m sure remember what happened to Blanche Lincoln .

  •  MCCaskill (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angstall, costello7, Celtic Pugilist

    is more concerned about her evening mug of cocoa than she is about Democratic principles. She has made that much very clear.

  •  ALL spending cuts should be off the table (0+ / 0-)

    until tax increases are on the table.  Period.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."—Frederick Douglass

    by costello7 on Mon May 23, 2011 at 04:26:10 PM PDT

  •  GOP will pay the price for attacking Medicare (0+ / 0-)

    I can see it already.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon May 23, 2011 at 07:52:31 PM PDT

  •  Interesting graphic on health care inflation (0+ / 0-)

    Medicare breaks the inflation curve

    "Today, S&P released data tracking the growth of health care costs which showed that over the year ending March 2011, Medicare spending rose at an annual rate of 2.78%—the lowest rate posted for the Medicare Index in its six-year history...

    By contrast, over the same 12 months, health care costs covered by commercial insurers rose by 7.57%."

    This is just a datum but the graph within the article shows the trend.

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