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New Poll Shows Whom Swing-State Voters Trust on Medicare

A new  USA Today/Gallup survey of voters in 12 key swing states finds that they have more confidence in President Obama than his challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, when it comes to protecting Medicare.

Fifty percent of the voters polled said that they trust Obama the most to address issues relating to Medicare, compared with 44 percent for Romney. That's roughly comparable to the slightly larger 51-43 edge that the president holds on that issue nationwide, according to other Gallup polls. This survey questioned 1,215 adults in  in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Medicare has become a critical issue in the 2012 presidential election, in part because voters are worried about the program's survival. In the USA Today/Gallup poll, only 44 percent of the voters surveyed said they were optimistic that, 20 years from now, people over 65 would have adequate health care coverage; 53 percent said they were pessimistic.

An August AARP poll showed that among voters over 50, about two-thirds felt that neither candidate had done a good job of explaining what he would do to protect both Medicare and Social Security.

Indeed, both candidates' proposals contain blurry areas, according to Associated Press stories covering their answers to the news agency's written questions about Medicare.

But in the USA Today/Gallup poll, swing-state voters in a wider age range clearly give the edge to Obama. Fifty-one percent said that Obama has a specific plan to address Medicare, compared with 46 percent who said that he doesn't. In contrast, 44 percent of voters said that Romney has a specific plan for Medicare and 50 percent said that he doesn't.

Meanwhile, a new poll by Reuters/Ipsos suggests that Romney's once-solid support among Americans 60 and older is crumbling. Around the time of the party conventions, Romney held a 20-point lead in that age group, but since then, his edge has shrunk to less than 4 points. -Patrick J. Kiger

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