After ballooning the deficit to a trillion dollars a year with their tax cuts for the rich, the Republicans thought they could reduce that by cutting Social Security and Medicare -- even though Social Security adds nothing to the deficit and Medicare adds very little. That doesn't matter to the Republicans, since their true constituency is the rich -- not seniors who rely on Social Security and Medicare.
This was the Republican plan all along. They have always hated Social Security and Medicare (since their rich constituents don't need them), and they have tried various means to get rid of them. The latest is to falsely blame them for the deficit and cut the benefits. Senate Majority Leader McConnell even admitted that was what they planned to do.
They misjudged to public. And the threats to Social Security and Medicare contributed to their stunning defeat in the 2018 election. With the House solidly in Democratic hands, there will be no cuts to Social Security and Medicare -- which is just what the public wants. In fact (as the charts above show), the public wants to see spending on Social Security (65% to 3%) and Medicare (66% to 6%) increased -- not decreased.
The Republicans may not care about seniors (which seems obvious), but they need to realize that the public will NOT support efforts to damage either Social Security or Medicare. Americans know these programs keep millions out of poverty and in good health, and they want those programs to continue.
It used to be said that Social Security and Medicare were the "third rail" of politics, and touching them meant certain political death. That is still true!
The charts above reflect the results of a new Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between November 11th and 13th of a national sample of 1,500 adults (including 1,284 registered voters). The margin of error for adults is 3 points, and for registered voters is 2.9 points.