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8 in 10 Say Presidential Candidates Must Take a Stand on Social Security as Basic Threshold for Leadership in New AARP Survey of Likely 50+ Voters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a new AARP survey released today, 8 in 10 say that taking a stand on Social Security is a basic threshold for Presidential leadership. The survey of likely voters age 50+ also shows nearly 40% are dissatisfied with their retirement savings and nearly half of voters worry they won’t be able to achieve their financial goals over the next five years (49%).  4 in 10 (40%) still don’t know for certain which party’s presidential candidate they’ll choose in the 2016 general election.

“Almost every American voter aged 50+ said leadership is a very important quality in a president,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “Laying out a plan to make Social Security financially sound and adequate is a test of how the candidates will lead. With so many older voters undecided, candidates who fail to tell voters where they stand on Social Security do so at their own risk.”

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Voters say leadership is a very important quality in a presidential candidate (86%) and having a plan for Social Security is a basic threshold for presidential leadership (82%). In an oversample of African American and Hispanic/Latino voters, 63% of African Americans and 54% of Hispanic/Latino voters believe having a plan for Social Security is a basic threshold for presidential leadership. Nearly 8 in 10 (77%) also think it is very important that presidential candidates lay out their plans to update Social Security for future generations. This was true across party lines as 78% of Democrats, 76% of Republicans, and 77% of Independent voters want to see a plan.  It was also true across African American and Hispanic/Latino voters, as 87% of African Americans and 83% of Hispanic/Latino voters want to see a plan. Additionally, voters said it was very important that the government take action on Social Security (83%).

More Economic Anxiety Ahead

More than half of voters surveyed have economic anxiety, rating the national economy as performing poorly (55%). At home, just a quarter of voters are very satisfied (26%) with their financial situation, while nearly 3 in 10 (29%) are very or somewhat dissatisfied with their financial situation. 40% of African Americans and 43% of Hispanic/Latino voters are worried or concerned about being able to achieve their economic and financial goals. Less than a quarter (22%) are very satisfied with their retirement savings and nearly 4 in 10 (37%) are somewhat or very dissatisfied with their retirement savings. 6 in 10 (62%) feel that gridlock in Washington has had an impact on their personal financial situation.

“Dissatisfaction with the level of retirement savings only increases the importance of presidential candidates taking a stand on Social Security,” added LeaMond.  “If our leaders fail to act, future retirees could lose up to $10,000 per year in Social Security benefits.”

 Late last year before the Presidential primaries AARP launched Take a Stand, a national accountability campaign demanding on behalf of all voters that presidential candidates take a stand on their plans to update Social Security. AARP expects every presidential candidate to lay out their plans to make Social Security financially sound and adequate so current and future generations can receive the benefits they’ve earned.

For more information, please visit www.2016takeastand.org.  For complete results of AARP voter surveys, please visit www.aarp.org/50plusvoter.

Methodology

A total of 1,659 likely 2016 general election voters age 50 and over were interviewed by Hart Research Associates and GS Strategy Group from February 27 through March 6, 2016, via landlines and cell phones. This total includes oversample interviews among African-American/Black and Hispanic/Latino likely voters age 50 and over for a total of 420 African Americans/blacks and 427 Hispanic/Latinos. The margins of error are ±3.0 percentage points for the full sample, ±4.8 among African-Americans, ±4.8 among Hispanics.

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