Thursday, January 13, 2005

Good polling on Social Security

What I find most interesting about this table (posted over on Crooks and Liars and based on a new Pew Research poll) are the 18-29 numbers. The lowest voter bracket actually has greater confidence in Social Security than does my own (30-49)! That means the 30 year propaganda campaign to convince everyone that Social Security is failing has been losing ground in the last decade or so. I know that, before I educated myself, I never really questioned the suggestion that Social Security wouldn't be there when I retired. It was just one of those things that everyone knew to be true when I was in that 18-29 bracket. Now it appears that the next generation is not as gullible as we were.

Time is on our side.

It's also interesting that Republicans and Democrats are statistically tied in their assessment of the program's health. That's not what you would expect considering years of Republican efforts to paint the program as a ticking time bomb. And not the kind of thing Republican representatives want to see if they are to sign on to Bush's plan.

However, this table gives a slightly different picture.


Here the divisions are much more partisan, demonstrating that Republicans preference for private accounts is not based on any great fear that Social Security is failing. It's probably more a philosophical issue. But philosophical issues don't sell as well at the ballot box.

The 65-29 polling in favor of guaranteed benefits vs. the 54-30 polling in favor of private accounts is a good sign for opponents of Bush's "reform". It means that the advocates of private accounts have a much tougher fight than those who can legitimately argue that Bush's plan does not guarantee benefits. Guaranteed retirement benefits should be a cornerstone of our campaign. Even a number of those who favor private accounts would appear to back off if that meant losing their guaranteed benefits.


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