Public Policy Polling polled 548 voters on Nov. 2 and 3 and found what Dems should have been running on this year: protecting Social Security.
The survey of voters who cast ballots last Tuesday -- conducted by Democratic pollster PPP and commissioned by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee -- found that when respondents were given the choice between cutting the defense budget, raising taxes on the wealthy and cutting Social Security to reduce the deficit, just 12% said they'd like to see the entitlement program cut. Forty-three percent said they'd prefer to see taxes on the wealthy go up, and 22% said cutting the huge defense budget was the best way to go....
The partisan breakdown of the results shows that Republicans, Democrats and independents agree that cutting Social Security is the least acceptable option of the three presented in the poll. It came in third among all respondents who made a choice. But the plurality of independents and Republicans said they didn't know which option is best -- 36% of Republicans said they were "not sure" which to choose among the three and 35% of independents said the same thing. Among the total sample, 23% said they were unsure.
That's among people who actually did vote, and schizophrenically elected Republicans. That suggests that a strong message to protect the middle class and to protect Social Security could have swayed voters. Who knows, it might have even helped close the enthusiasm gap. The polling on the issue leading up to the election demonstrated the same results found in this PPP poll, so it's not like the preference of most Americans for a secure retirement with the wealthy paying a fair share is news.
Looking ahead, if Democrats want to hold onto to what they've got--the Senate and the White House--they need to abandon any idea of Social Security cuts and fight for economic fairness.