I spotted this blog by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo the flagship blog of TPM media and thought the findings were worth repeating to a UK audience.
CNN released a poll yesterday showing that 50 percent of Americans support President Obama’s health care plan while 45 percent oppose it. On a challenge this big those actually aren’t bad numbers, but the more interesting numbers lie below the top-lines.
There’s a generational divide hovering around the age of 50, with most people younger than 50 supporting the president and those over 50 opposing him.
It’s an interesting number since – not to put too fine a point on it – people over 50 are disproportionately people who already have guaranteed single-payer government health care. Why that would be is a whole other question in itself. But my sense is that this is less a matter of experience with health care per se than it is a ‘mapping’ onto the health care debate of the generational divide that characterised the 2008 election.
This division is not lost on congressional Republicans. House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner is looking to elderly voters as key allies in opposing health care reform; using the argument that funding reform for the whole population will lead to draconian cuts to Medicare.
Boehner is presumably not mentioning the longstanding Republican desire to privatise and eventually abolish Medicare.