Battleground state women voters want action
RICHMOND _ Eighty-one years after the program was signed into law, a new analysis conducted by AARP shows that 4.5 million Virginia workers who are paying into Social Security today could lose 25 percent of their benefits if the President and Congress don’t act, and women voters want something done about it.
At a forum on Social Security in Chicago today, AARP leaders released results of a new poll of likely battleground state women voters age 50 and over who believe candidates have not done enough to tell them about their Social Security plans and also believe that within several years, the next president needs to take action to update the program.
While the revenue shortfall faced by the Social Security system that could result in cuts is not imminent, the Social Security Trustees reported in June that the trust fund would run dry in 2034, the year today’s 49-year-olds reach their full retirement age. After that time, across-the-board cuts of nearly 25 percent would take effect if no action is taken.
“Doing nothing is not an option. The question is how long will our leaders wait to act?” said AARP Virginia State President Bill Lukhard. “The presidential candidates need to show they can lead on this issue and give voters real answers on how they will update Social Security for future generations.”
On Sunday, Social Security turned 81, and at today’s forum in Chicago experts discussed differing opinions about the future of Social Security, while AARP shared views expressed by likely women voters in battleground states, including 72% who believe the next president and Congress need to act immediately to update Social Security, and 53% saying they would be impacted if the program is not updated by 2034, when beneficiaries could face a cut of nearly a quarter of their benefits.
“Older women care deeply about the economic security of their kids and grandkids,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “The presidential candidates need to lead on Social Security and give voters real answers about how their plans would impact our families.”
When asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, the likely battleground state women voters chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 48% to 33%, with the 19% of remaining respondents’ undecided or choosing another candidate. Remaining somewhat consistent with candidate preference, but with a majority of voters, Clinton has an edge over Trump in being perceived as a leader who would keep Social Security strong, with 52% of respondents saying Clinton would do a better job, and 34% who think Trump would do a better job.
Additionally, when asked if they had heard about the candidates’ Social Security plans, survey respondents indicated the vast majority had not, with just 34% hearing about Clinton’s plan, and 20% hearing about Trump’s plan.
AARP’s Take a Stand is a national campaign focused on elevating the importance of taking steps now to keep Social Security strong and adequate for future generations. Among other program elements, AARP Take a Stand volunteers across the country are attending campaign events by 2016 presidential candidates and asking them for their plans for Social Security.
Hundreds of Take a Stand Virginia volunteers have attended hundreds of events across the state to interact with people to tell the candidates that voters want to know their plans for the future of Social Security.
Here is a glimpse of what a 25-percent cut would mean to future retirees in Virginia, based upon today’s numbers:
- The average annual family income of Virginia retirees would plunge by $4,500. For many state residents, losses would be much higher.
- The poverty rate of older Virginians would skyrocket 53 percent. Some 52,900 additional seniors would be pushed into poverty.
- Virginians typically spend $8,500 a year on groceries, $5,700 a year on utilities, and $9,100 on health care. A cut of nearly 25 percent would force households to make painful choices about what to buy and what to do without – at a time when the cost of necessities like food and prescription drugs continues to rise.
“This snapshot of the potential effects of inaction on future generations makes it abundantly clear that Social Security needs to be a top priority in the presidential debate,” said Lukhard. “Voters deserve to know how the candidates’ plans will affect families, what they will cost and how they’ll get it done.”
The survey of 1500 likely women voters age 50+ for the 2016 general election was conducted via landline and cellphone from August 1 through August 7, 2016, by Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint for AARP. The survey reached across 15 key battleground states (AZ, CO, FL, GA, IA, MI, MN, NC, NH, NM, NV, OH, PA, VA, and WI). The margin of error is +/- 2.5%.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million that helps people turn their goals and dreams into 'Real Possibilities' by changing the way America defines aging. With staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and promote the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare security, financial security and personal fulfillment. AARP also advocates for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation magazine, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @aarp and our CEO @JoAnn_Jenkins on Twitter.