For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Don Owens, Strengthen Social Security
Kim Wright, NCPSSM, (202) 216-8414
Michael Buckley, (202) 637-5190
New Florida Poll Shows 76 Percent of Likely 2012 Voters Oppose Cuts to Social Security
Washington, DC— In a new poll released today, 76 percent of likely voters in Florida’s 2012 election oppose cutting Social Security benefits in order to reduce the federal deficit. Those opposed include 90 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of Independents, and 56 percent of Tea Party supporters. The poll was released as leaders in Washington debate how to reduce the federal deficit and many members of Congress call for having all options on the table, including deep cuts to Social Security.
The poll found that Social Security could be a real wedge issue in the 2012 U.S. Senate race.
Nearly seven in ten (69 percent) Florida voters say they would be less likely to vote for a Senate candidate who supports cutting benefits to reduce the deficit, including two-thirds of voters in every region of the state.
The Social Security issue also has the potential to swing voters: by a margin of 57 percent to 9 percent of independents and a margin of 65 percent to 5 percent of those who are undecided in the generic 2012 Senate ballot, voters indicated they would be much less likely to vote for a candidate who supports cutting Social Security benefits to reduce the deficit. Twenty-seven percent of those polled said they were undecided in the contest.
“These findings suggest that members of Congress who recently voted to end Medicare as we know it by turning coverage over to private insurance companies and who voted to make deep cuts to Medicaid, two programs that seniors’ heavily depend on, could suffer a voter backlash,” said Alphonso Mayfield, President of Florida Public Services Union.
“This poll shows that voters are clear in their thinking: Don’t cut Social Security benefits, don’t reduce the COLA and don’t raise the retirement age,” said Max Richtman, Acting CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, which has 219,000 members in Florida. “They also agree on something else: Congress should raise the Social Security tax cap so that people making more than $107,000 a year pay taxes on all of their wages just like everyone else who makes less than that amount has to do. This will guarantee that full Social Security benefits can be paid for the next 75 years.”
“Social Security does not contribute a penny to the deficit, in fact it has a huge surplus,” said Bill Cea, Regional Board Member of the Alliance for Retired Americans, which has 188,000 Florida members. “This is money that belongs to all of us who contributed our entire working lives so that we could retire with dignity. Florida voters want our politicians in Washington to keep their hands off Social Security.”
Significant findings in the poll include:
Tea Party Supporters...56% opposed to any Social Security benefit cuts
Republicans…………....66% opposed to any Social Security benefit cuts
Independents………......71% opposed to any Social Security benefit cuts
Democrats………….......90% opposed to any Social Security benefit cuts
TOTALS…................76% opposed to cutting Social Security benefits
· Strong majorities of Florida voters oppose three specific proposals that would cut Social Security benefits by:
o Raising the retirement age to 69: 60% oppose
o Changing the COLA formula in a way that reduces the amount beneficiaries receive: 57% oppose
o Reducing benefits for people earning above $60,000 – typically what a proposal to “means-test” Social Security would do: 57% oppose
More than 3.5 million Floridians receive Social Security and 1.5 million of them are lifted out of poverty by the program’s modest benefits.
The survey of 503 likely voters was conducted March 3-7, 2011, by the national polling firm of Lake Research Partners; it has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent. The poll was paid for by Social Security Works, a national organization that convenes the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, which is comprised of more than 300 national and state organizations representing more than 50 million Americans from many of the nation’s leading aging, labor, disability, women’s, children, consumer, civil rights and equality organizations; the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, which has 219,000 members in Florida; and the Alliance for Retired Americans, which has 188,000 members in Florida.