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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Why the SocSec Smoke-out Matters

I did a post this morning noting the gathering campaign to force John McCain to disclose his (probably scary) views on Social Security, and suggesting that it presented McCain with some bad choices in terms of his rep as a straight-talker, a fiscal hawk, and a paragon of principle.
I should have mentioned a more fundamental political issue: the importance of Social Security to seniors.
In a post today on the close divisions between the two candidates in the latest Newsweek poll, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza called attention to the vast “age gap” between supporters of Obama and McCain:

Another interesting finding from the Newsweek poll is that there seems to be a massive age gap forming around the choice between Obama and McCain. Among voters aged 18 to 39, Obama led McCain 56 percent to 33 percent; voters 40-59 were essentially a wash (44 percent McCain/41 percent Obama) while those 60 years of age or older went for McCain by a 48 percent to 37 percent margin.

McCain’s appeal to seniors is in no small part because he’s a familiar figure who has long been perceived by many older voters as trustworthy. If Democrats can spend some time showing seniors that McCain is a weasly flip-flopper on Social Security who would love to gut the program while accelerating tax cuts for wealthy Americans and corporations, those perceptions could significantly change. Watch for it in future polls.

One comment on “Why the SocSec Smoke-out Matters

  1. Matthew Cowan on

    Great idea! The media lets McCain get away with pitching himself as a straight talker. He’s anything but. A campaign to expose McCain for what he really is should proceed at once, by all means.


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