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North Carolina Citizens Rank High on "Anxiety Index"

GRAPHIC: Financial stresses are weighing heavy on a majority of North Carolina's most active voting bloc. Photo courtesy: AARP.
GRAPHIC: Financial stresses are weighing heavy on a majority of North Carolina's most active voting bloc. Photo courtesy: AARP.
August 12, 2014

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - If you're worried about your financial future and retirement security, you're in good company. A nonpartisan voter survey released this week by AARP of North Carolina finds the most active voters in the Tarheel State rank high on the "anxiety index" when it comes to their financial outlook.

Doug Dickerson, director of AARP North Carolina, says his organization is communicating the survey results to candidates in the state's key political races to ensure problems facing older Americans are part of the dialogue in the upcoming November election.

"The candidate who turns to talk about other issues rather than these personal, pressing issues is probably going to find it's just not answering the need, and is going to end up turning people away," says Dickerson.

Across party lines, the survey found at least half of the state's voters age 50 or older worry most about costs rising faster than their incomes, health expenses, and not having enough savings for retirement. Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat running for re-election this fall, and her opponent, Republican Thom Tillis, were among those who received the results of the study findings.

Professor Ferrel Guillory, director of the Program on Public Life at UNC Chapel Hill, says his research shows older North Carolinians are as politically split as their younger counterparts, but acknowledges they are a hot commodity when it comes to the upcoming election.

"Older people tend to vote more heavily than younger people," says Guillory. "So you may have some debate or clash in the campaign in their 'get out the vote' efforts."

Dickerson says AARP wants candidates to address issues such as Social Security, Medicare and age discrimination.

"People that have not yet retired are very concerned they don't have the savings," says Dickerson. "We'd like to see politicians fill that gap and develop a type of program through which people can actually save through their employer."

Dickerson says it's important for candidates to consider solutions for those whose employer does not offer an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan.

Just eight percent of North Carolinians approve of Congress' job performance, while more than half of those polled disapprove of President Obama's job performance.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC