From today's Hotline
Dem pollsters Geoffrey Garin and Guy Molyneux wrote in a 3/25 memo, obtained from Hotline sources: "We conducted 3 focus groups" with "swing voters" on 3/23 in Exton, PA. "Consistent with all national polls, we found little enthusiasm for -- and a great deal of concern over" -- Pres. Bush's Social Security "privatization proposal. Remarkably, this is true despite the fact that the Bush proposal is still understood almost exclusively in terms of introducing private investment accounts, while our most powerful criticisms of the plan -- large cuts in guaranteed benefits and substantial new federal debt -- are not yet widely known."
Garin and Molyneux showed the 30 swing voters the new PFA "Tick Tock" ad attacking Dems for "failing to put forward" a plan. The response was "strong and nearly unanimous: voters hate this ad and find it completely unpersuasive." 80% gave it a "3 or less" on a 0-10 scale for an avg. of "2.0 (compared to 5.4 for AARP's 'Bringing Down the House' spot and 5.7 for another anti-privatization spot now in development." They are "not convinced" that Dems don't have "ideas for strengthening Social Security, but also say that even if it were true it is not a good reason to adopt a bad plan."
The participants felt "that 'we have time to do it right.' They don't like what they have heard about privatization, and eventually want to hear other ideas." But they are "not in any particular hurry to hear a Democratic plan at this time" (Hotline reporting, 3/29).
The more desperate the GOP becomes with their failing Social Security effort, the more shrill their demands for a "Democratic Plan" will become. The Hotline is read by everyone in DC, and this should reinforce Democratic refusal to bail the GOP out with their own plan.
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