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CNN poll shows the risks of Paul Ryan

August 11, 2012|By Maeve Reston
  • Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Mitt Romney's running mate, on Capitol Hil
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Mitt Romney's running mate, on Capitol Hil (Michael Reynolds / EPA )

If you need an indicator of just how bold Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan was, consider CNN’s poll from last year on the changes proposed by the Wisconsin congressman.

Two months after the House passed the 2012 budget authored by Ryan — its centerpiece a  controversial plan to reform Medicare, the healthcare plan for seniors — CNN found that 58% of Americans opposed the Republican plan and just 35% supported it.

In the poll conducted in late May 2011, about 50% of respondents said they feared the country would be worse off under the plan’s Medicare changes. Resistance was highest among seniors, who are the most reliable group of voters.

Photos: Paul Ryan announced as Romney's running mate

Democrats are eager to make Ryan’s fiscal proposal a target of the race this fall. Under it, those 55 and younger would be offered the option of subsidies for the purchase of private insurance. It would also include major tax cuts while slicing $700 billion from Medicaid healthcare for the poor.

Romney has embraced Ryan’s plan and has argued that returning Medicaid to the states would offer more flexibility to spend the money in a way best tailored to those states.

The Romney campaign emphasized the homey aspects of Ryan’s biography in its release Saturday morning, noting that he is the son of an attorney and a stay-at-home mom who proposed to his wife “at one of his favorite fishing spots.” The release noted that Ryan, who once considered a career in skiing, is an avid outdoorsman and a member of his local archery association: the Janesville Bowmen.

But rivals were ready for the pick, armed with opposition research. American Bridge, the Democratic group supporting Obama’s bid, had already launched a website Saturday morning featuring what one aide called “hundreds of pages of research as well as hours and hours of tracking footage” at

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