March 15, 2005


Winning Numbers?: What the Social Security numbers say. (Byron York, 3/15/05, National Review)

"Barely a third of the public approves of the way President Bush is dealing with Social Security," writes the Washington Post's Richard Morin, "and a majority says the more they hear about Bush's plan to reform the giant retirement system, the less they like it, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll."

Yet inside the same Post poll, there is news that 56 percent of those surveyed say they would support "a plan in which people who chose to could invest some of their Social Security contributions in the stock market," which is the centerpiece of the president's still-to-be-unveiled Social Security proposal. Forty-one percent say they would oppose such a plan, while three percent have no opinion.

The 56-percent support figure — 60 percent and higher among respondents under 50 years of age — is the highest level of support on that question in the last six Post polls going back before the 2000 election. The 41-percent figure is the lowest level of opposition in the last six Post polls going back before the 2000 election.

The Post also found that 71 percent of those polled believe that, if changes are not made, the Social Security system "is heading for a crisis down the road" — a perception that the president's advisers call a "precondition to authentic reform."

Thus, the poll indicates that solid majorities of those surveyed a) accept the president's underlying rationale for reform, and b) support his main proposal for that reform.

The question isn't whether SS will be privatized but whether Democrats will be around to influence the reform package when it passes.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 15, 2005 3:15 PM
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