Polling Medicare in Montana

By Beacon Staff

The Democratic firm Public Policy Polling has released results of a poll it conducted in four so-called battleground states (including Montana) that found voters overwhelmingly oppose cutting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid in order to reduce the national debt.

Along with Montana, PPP polled Ohio, Missouri and Minnesota. All four states have a Democratic senator up for reelection in 2012. The survey found 76 percent of Montanans opposed cutting Social Security, 71 percent opposed cutting Medicare and 59 percent opposed cutting Medicaid to help reduce the U.S. deficit.

Next year, incumbent Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is facing the state’s lone congressman, Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, in a race that could tip the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. But keep in mind, Rehberg was one of just four Republicans in the House to vote against Rep. Paul Ryan’s, R-Wis., budget plan – perhaps making it less of a wedge issue in this election. In fact, Rehberg pointed out changes to Medicare in Ryan’s budget as a reason for his opposition. His statement at the time:

This budget – the first one we have even considered in two years – has a lot of good things in it that I fully support. But there are still too many unanswered questions with regard to Medicare reform, and I simply won’t support any plan until I know for a fact that Montana’s seniors will be protected. Regardless of which party wants to change Medicare, either Democrats with Obamacare or Republicans through this budget proposal, it’s always been my approach to listen directly to Montanans prior to any vote.

A separate AP-GfK poll released this week also found the majority of Americans believe the budget can be fixed without cutting Social Security or Medicare.

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