Older, conservative South Carolinians are leaning toward Cain or Romney for president and want Medicare and Social Security protected from budget cuts. However, their conviction for the entitlements is much stronger than for any candidate right now.
AARP South Carolina polled 400 likely Republican primary voters (age 18+) in South Carolina with the mean age of 64, with 73.5 percent identifying themselves as “Conservative.”
Respondents were asked which candidate they would vote for if the primary was held the day of the survey, either October 18-19. The survey happened before additional sexual harassment claims against Herman Cain (polling then at 27.8 percent) vs. Mitt Romney (27.0 percent). Yet, the number of undecided voters was still significant at that point, at 19.5 percent.
AARP spokesman Khelan Bhatia, manager of voter education says right now that their focus is on the issue-related answers. The non-partisan lobbying group’s media message has centered on saving Medicare and Social Security from impending budget cuts, and the poll findings reflect those priorities.
According to AARP: More than 88 percent of polled voters said that Social Security benefits will be important to their monthly income in retirement and 92.3 percent say the strength and solvency of Medicare is essential to seniors’ health care security in retirement.
Respondents preferred cutting the deficit by reducing U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan over cutting either Medicare or Social Security. The poll indicates 73.5 percent were in favor of troop withdrawals to cut spending vs. 8.5 percent preferring Medicare cuts, and 73.5 percent in favor of troop withdrawals vs. 6.0 percent preferring Social Security cuts.
GS Strategy Group conducted the survey with funding from AARP, with the numbers having a 4.90 percent margin of error.