A survey of Iowa Republicans who are likely to attend the Caucuses finds overwhelming opposition to cutting Medicare or Social Security benefits.
“Social Security is a misunderstood issue inside the Republican Party where the voters very much want to protect these benefits and the elected officials and leaders in Washington are ignoring that kind of sentiment,” Strimple said this morning during a telephone conference call with reporters. “And that’s going to be a potential problem for Republicans down the line.”
The survey found 67 percent of likely Iowa Caucus-goers oppose cuts to Medicare, the government health care program for the elderly, and 64.5 percent of likely Iowa Caucus-goers oppose cuts in Social Security. The polling data also tracked presidential candidate preferences and found, for example, that while Rick Perry has called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” — about 67 percent of the Iowans who said they support Perry are opposed to cuts in Social Security.
“One of the goals of this project is to educate the candidates and the electorate about where people stand on Social Security and Medicare,” Strimple said.
A significant majority of the Iowans surveyed indicated they would prefer getting U.S. troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan as a budget-cutting move over reducing these two main government benefits for senior citizens.
“What’s most interesting about these numbers for me is if you think of the Republican Party as the party that’s pro-national defense, pro-strong military…and we asked, ‘Which would you prefer, withdrawing troops or cutting Medicare?’ by 67 to 10 (percent), people said they wanted to withdraw troops,” Strimple said. “And when we asked about, ‘Do you want to withdraw troops or cut Social Security?’ by 65 to 9 (percent), people said they wanted to withdraw troops.”
Most of those surveyed said they were either very or somewhat conservative. Only 21 percent identified themselves as moderate — and 69 percent of all the Iowa Republicans surveyed said they are most interested in economic issues. The survey was conducted in Iowa on October 17 and 18. Iowans with a past history of voting in Republican Primaries were called and those who said they were likely to attend the Caucuses were questioned by the Idaho-based polling firm. Similar surveys were conducted in the other early voting states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, with similar results.