Washington, DC— In a new poll released today by the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, 8 in 10 likely voters said that they oppose or strongly oppose cuts to Social Security in order to cut the national deficit. The poll identified Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and Tea Partiers, all who overwhelmingly opposed cuts to Social Security benefits. Democrats opposed the cuts by a margin of 83%, Republicans by 82%, Independents by 78% and Tea Party members by 74%.
The survey also revealed that Democrats no longer have the advantage they’ve traditionally held over Social Security but that candidates who made Social Security an issue often saved their seats. Among voters who say Social Security was their most important election issue 55% voted for a Democratic congressional candidate and just 42% voted for a Republican candidate.
Rep. Raul Grijalva said, “The Democratic-controlled Congress and White House are now pondering cuts to one of the most important, successful and popular programs in American history. Unfortunately, the architects of this scheme have still never been pushed to answer the fundamental question: Why? Social Security keeps millions of Americans out of poverty and living the decent lifestyle they earned through decades of contributing to the economy. The whole debate has been off topic from the beginning and seems motivated by an agenda that has nothing to do with the real needs of working and retired families. We cannot throw the future of the American retirement system under the bus to put more money in the country’s wealthiest pocket or further slash taxes for the richest two percent. Proponents of cutting Social Security are right that this is about fiscal responsibility, and the fiscally responsible thing to do is strengthen rather than weaken the most fundamental economic support program this country has ever had.”
Rep. Barbara Lee said, “Safeguarding Social Security is more imperative now than ever. Social Security keeps 20 million Americans out of poverty – many of whom are people of color. As we move into the 112th Congress, I am committed to defending Social Security from all those who wish to dismantle it. We must work together to ensure that Social Security remains intact and solvent for generations to come.”
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “Proposals to cut Social Security benefits and give the wealthiest Americans over $700 billion in wasteful tax breaks won’t help the economy. Let’s be clear. We have a jobs crisis, not a short term deficit crisis.”
National Organization for Women (NOW) President Terry O’Neill said, “Women are 57 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries aged 65 and older. These 21 million women rely on Social Security in retirement more than men do, primarily because their access to pensions and other income is less. In fact, women’s reliance on Social Security in retirement is increasing. Since women are far more likely than men to head in to retirement without savings, women need Social Security more than ever.”
Eric Kingson, Strengthen Social Security’s Co-chair said, “The president and every member of Congress should declare the Social Security benefit cuts dead on arrival, just as Americans would have made them DOA if they had been given a chance to vote on them.“
The poll was conducted by Lake Research Associates from October 31 through November 2, 2010 from over 1,200 likely voters nationwide. Full poll results and a recording of the press call are available at www.strengthensocialsecurity.org/lakepolling.