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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Outside of a Small Circle of Friends

That’s about the limit of support for Bush’s basic approach to Social Security “reform”. A new Gallup analysis shows that, outside of paid-up members of the Republican base, almost no subgroups of the electorate support Bush’s approach and most are outright hostile.
Here’s the question that Gallup bases its analysis on:

As you may know, one idea to address concerns with the Social Security system would allow people who retire in future decades to invest some of their Social Security taxes in the stock market and bonds, but would reduce the guaranteed benefits they get when they retire. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?

A pretty fair summation, I think, of Bush’s approach. And here’s Gallup on what people say when asked this:

About 4 in 10 Americans have consistently said that such a proposal is a “good idea,” while slightly fewer than 6 in 10 have said it is a “bad idea.” An analysis of support for the reform proposal by subgroup — based on an aggregate of the three polls in which the question was asked — reveals that few subgroups endorse it. Republicans and conservatives are most likely to express support, and younger Americans are more likely than older Americans to favor this reform approach. The data suggest the president would have a lot of work to do to convince others to support such a proposal.

Indeed. The data adduced in the rest of the analysis include the following levels of opposition to Bush’s approach: 61-34 among independents; 65-31 among moderates; 55-41 among those 30-49 years old; 63-33 among those 55-64; and 64-31 among those 65 or older.
In addition, just 40 percent of whites support Bush’s proposal and every income group opposes it save those with $100,000 or more in income. And even these affluent respondents only support it by a narrow 51-47.
As the Gallup analysis concludes: “At this stage, it looks as if there is little initial support for the proposal outside of Bush’s most reliable supporters.” That’s the simple truth of the matter, no matter what the administration shills keep on saying.