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Published on February 11th, 2016 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Candidates: Where do they stand on Social Security?

-More than 8 in 10 South Carolinians Say Having a Plan is a Threshold for Leadership

Columbia, SC –  In this polarizing election where specifics have been taking a backseat to sound bites, one issue transcends the partisan divide and unites people of all ages – Social Security. According to a new survey released by AARP, more than nine in 10 South Carolina primary voters across party lines and age groups say it is important for presidential candidates to lay out their plans to make Social Security financially sound for future generations.

“South Carolina primary voters say that having a plan to keep Social Security strong is a test of leadership for all of the presidential candidates,” said AARP State Director Teresa Arnold. “Our survey confirms South Carolina primary voters agree if a candidate thinks they’re ready to be president, they should at least be able to tell voters where they stand on Social Security’s future.”

Between January 28 – February 1, 2016, AARP surveyed 1,003 likely South Carolina primary voters age 18 and older (500 Democratic; 503 Republican) to examine their views on the importance of candidates focusing on Social Security and which candidate they expect to vote for during South Carolina’s two primaries. The survey is part of AARP’s 2016 presidential election issue campaign, Take A Stand.

On the importance of candidates focusing on Social Security – across all age groups and party lines – the survey shows:

  • More than 9 in 10 South Carolina primary voters think it is important for presidential candidates to have a plan for the future of Social Security.  This includes 95% of Democratic primary voters and 91% of Republican primary voters.
  • More than 8 in 10 South Carolina primary voters agree that having a plan for Social Security is a basic threshold for presidential leadership. This includes 88% of likely Democratic primary voters and 86% of likely Republican primary voters.
  • More than 9 in 10 South Carolina primary voters believe it is important that the next president and congress take action to make Social Security financially sound.  This includes 96% of Democratic primary voters as well as 93% of Republican primary voters.

“If our leaders don’t act, future generations could see their Social Security benefits cut 25% or in other words, up to $10,000 a year. This survey confirms how critical it is for the next president to have a plan to update Social Security and a commitment to act on that plan,” said Arnold. South Carolina has the 50th lowest rate in the country when it comes to 401k savings, meaning more of our state’s citizens will have only Social Security to rely on when they retire.

When asked if they have heard enough about the candidates’ plans for the future of Social Security, many South Carolinians say they would like to hear more.

  • Among Democratic primary voters, 52 percent would like to know more about Hillary Clinton’s plans and 49 percent would like to know more about Bernie Sanders’ plans.
  • Among Republican primary voters, 43 percent would like to know more about Donald Trump’s plans and 46 percent would like to know more about Ted Cruz’s and 47 percent about Marco Rubio’s plans.

All plans put forward by candidates are posted on the Take a Stand website, www.2016takeastand.org.

To date, all but two of the Democratic and Republican candidates have proposed plans.

On the question of which candidate they expect to vote for in either primary, the survey shows:

  • Among likely Democrat primary voters, Hillary Clinton is the leading choice for president (62 percent), with Bernie Sanders a distant second (28 percent). However, 28 percent say they haven’t fully decided which candidate they will support.
  • Among likely Republican caucus goers, Donald Trump is the leading choice for president (30 percent) with Ted Cruz coming in second (25 percent) and Marco Rubio third (20 percent).  Twenty-nine percent haven’t fully decided which candidate they will support.

Since the November 2015 launch of the Take A Stand campaign (www.2016takeastand.org ) in South Carolina and the other early voting states of New Hampshire and Iowa, more than 500 member volunteers in these three states, including more than 250 volunteers in South Carolina, have been active directly questioning candidates at their events; pressing candidates on social media; and engaging AARP members in the campaign. In addition, AARP has been rolling out a multi-million dollar television and digital advertising campaign in the three early states. AARP is nonpartisan and does not support or oppose any political candidates, nor contribute any money to political action committees, campaigns or super PACs.

Survey methodology: This survey of 1,003 likely South Carolina primary voters was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research via landline and mobile phones from January 28, 2016, through February 1, 2016.  By design, half of the respondents are likely Democratic primary voters (500) and half are likely Republican primary voters (503). The margin of error for the full sample of 1,007 is +/- 3.2%, while the margin of error for each subgroup by party (Republican caucus goers or Democratic caucus goers) is +/- 4.5%. A full copy of the survey report is attached.

About AARPAARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, including approximately 370,000 members in Iowa. The organization helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world’s largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.  The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org

 

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