Democrats are running into the same trouble with health care reform as Republicans did with Social Security several years ago: senior citizen support.
A Gallup poll released Friday shows adults age 65 and older are the least likely of any age group to think health care reform will benefit them personally -- by a three-to-one margin. As many think reform will reduce their access to health care as do think it wouldn't change their access. Almost 40 percent said reform would worsen their own medical care.
This is simply not good for President Obama and the Democrats running for reelection next year, because senior citizens have a higher voting percentage than any other age group so they punch above their relative weight in the population. (Note: the Gallup poll tested senior "adults" not voters.)
President Bush cut down his own party among senior citizens by pursuing Social Security reform immediately after reelection. Bush's plan had less than 30 percent support among senior voters, even though he toured the country and held press conferences to sell the plan.
"By any objective measure, the campaign has been spectacularly unsuccessful. The president is losing this battle," said Peter Orszag at the time when he worked for the Brookings Institute before becoming Obama's budget director and health care wonk.