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AARP: Strengthening Social Security is On Minds of Most Voters

AARP says voters over 50 aren't the only ones who want to know where the presidential candidates stand on strengthening Social Security. (freedigitalphotos.net)
AARP says voters over 50 aren't the only ones who want to know where the presidential candidates stand on strengthening Social Security. (freedigitalphotos.net)
January 25, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - More than nine of 10 Iowans who say they will attend one of that state's first-in-the-nation presidential precinct caucuses on Feb. 1 say they're concerned about the future of Social Security; concerned enough that they want to hear specific plans from the candidates.

John Hishta, senior vice president of campaigns with AARP, which funded the poll, says the results confirm his group's belief that the issue is important.

"This is a critical election, and voters deserve to know how the candidates will lead," says Hishta. "If someone thinks they should be president, they ought to at least be able to tell voters how they plan to keep Social Security strong."

The survey of just over 1,000 likely Iowa caucus-goers shows 94 percent of Republicans and Democrats believe it's important that the next president lead the efforts to make Social Security more financially sound. AARP leaders warn if changes are not made, individual Social Security benefits could be cut by up to $10,000 a year by 2033.

Pollster Brad Coker with Mason-Dixon Polling and Research says the results show younger voters are just as concerned about the issue as those who are closer to retirement age. He says that proves the message is getting through to younger people.

"They understand that more people are retiring, and that there will be fewer people in the workforce to support those retirees," says Coker. "As they get older, they're going to be probably paying a whole lot more in Social Security tax than they are now."

AARP has led the "Take A Stand" effort in Iowa and fellow early-voting states New Hampshire and South Carolina to get candidates to offer specific proposals for Social Security.

All but three of the 15 candidates have proposed plans, which the group has posted on the website 2016takeastand.org.

Jeff Stein, Public News Service - AR