KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Polls, Debate Prep and Ads About Medicare, Medicaid

Media outlets report on the latest poll findings and preview Tuesday night's presidential debate, amid a high volume of campaign ads. 

The Washington Post: Presidential Contest Tight Nationally Ahead Of Second Debate
On the eve of their second debate, President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney remain locked in a virtual dead heat nationally, with Republicans showing increased enthusiasm for their nominee after his big win in the first debate, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll (Balz and Cohen, 10/15).

The Wall Street Journal: Town-Hall Format Could Dull Barbs In Second Debate
Mr. Romney has held dozens of town-hall events over the past year and a half, but has invariably faced admiring crowds. The scenario on Tuesday puts him in front of a crowd that will include some fans of the president. … Democrats caution the president can't afford a second subpar showing, and Mr. Obama has promised to show more vigor at the debate. … Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Mr. Obama is focused on "making a passionate case" for why he is the right choice in the election, noting the candidates' differences on tax cuts, Medicare and women's health issues (Nicholas and Lee, 10/14).

Los Angeles Times: Obama And Romney Working Two Different Angles
New Obama campaign ads in battleground states are hitting at Romney's plan to cut Medicaid. … The ads warn that Romney would "burden families with the cost of nursing home care," while assuring voters that Obama "won't let that happen." … But Romney's strong debate showing last week helped improve his favorable ratings in the polls. And Republicans are counting on dissatisfaction with Obama to overcome any residual doubts that voters may have about Romney (West, 10/12).

The Associated Press: As Election Nears, Political Ads Bombard Viewers, But To What Effect? 
By the end, the campaigns and independent groups will have spent about $1.1 billion on television advertising this year, with $750 million already allocated in the handful of states likely to determine the outcome of the contest — Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, the Kantar-Campaign Media Analysis Group estimates. Florida tops the list, with more than $150 million spent by both sides so far. At least some voters tuned out long ago. In interviews last week, many cited the negativity and lack of specifics in the commercials (Fouhy, 10/15).

The Medicare NewsGroup: Although Still Negative, Media Sentiment Toward Obama, Romney On Medicare Trended Up After Their Debate
Sentiment in mainstream media, on blogs and in social media toward Mitt Romney and President Obama remained negative for both candidates and their links to Medicare during the first week of October, according to sentiment measured by Appinions, an influence marketing platform company. While sentiment moved slightly more toward positive for Obama and Romney during the second half of the week, the Oct. 3 debate seemed to impact positive sentiment more for Obama than Romney. Romney sentiment was more positive than that for Obama on the day after the debate, but the lead didn’t hold (Sjoerdsma, 10/12).

Medpage Today: Reader Election Poll Echoes National Pulse
When we asked readers last week who they would choose as president "if the election were held today", the 6,000-plus votes resulted in a statistical tie, essentially mirroring the national picture. Barack Obama received 48.2 percent of the vote, Mitt Romney picked up 45.8 percent. … Earlier in the week, Romney held a commanding lead, then Obama jumped ahead (Kaiser, 10/14).

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