New poll: Seniors of both parties revile chained CPI

Two-thirds of respondents over 50 say they're less likely to support anyone who backs Obama's proposal

Topics: ,

New poll: Seniors of both parties revile chained CPI (Credit: AP/Susan Walsh)

On the news that President Obama’s budget indeed contains a highly unpopular proposal for Social Security cuts known as “chained CPI,” a new poll by the American Association of Retired Persons shows us exactly how unpopular it is.

The AARP reveals that 70 percent of voters age 50-plus oppose the use of the chained CPI to cut benefits, and two-thirds of them – including 60 percent of Republicans — say they would be “considerably less likely” to support a congressional candidate if he or she backed a new way of calculating consumer prices. And 84 percent of voters over 50 say Social Security has no place in budget-deficit discussions, since it is self-financed.

On every single question, Republicans lag only a point or two behind Democrats in their opposition to Social Security cuts.

Michael Lind explains why it’s such a bad deal on policy terms here. I’ve written about it many times, including here. The AARP opposes it on policy terms. Now its new survey shows how risky it is politically.

“The chained CPI reduction snowballs over time and would increase taxes for most taxpayers — at the same time that it cuts benefits for children, veterans, widows, retirees, and people with disabilities,” said AARP executive vice president Nancy LeaMond in a statement. “As this survey shows, older Americans oppose the chained CPI and they’ve historically made their opinions known to their elected officials.”

Little attention has focused on the way the chained CPI would also cut benefits for disabled veterans, as well as widows and children who’ve lost a parent. Using chained CPI to calculate veterans’ benefits is even less popular than using it to calculate seniors’ checks: Almost 80 percent of those surveyed opposed it.

Though Democrats were buoyed by the higher turnout of young and non-white voters in 2012, the senior vote particularly matters in midterm elections. In 2010 they made up 23 percent of the vote, up from 16 percent two years earlier, while 18-29-year-old participation dropped from 18 to 11 percent in those same two years. Seniors helped trigger the GOP-Tea Party landslide that year, and it will take Democrats years to shovel out of it.



Obama’s budget won’t help. Already House Majority Leader John Boehner has rejected it, and it’s possible all the president has done is attach his name to a hugely unpopular proposal. Let’s recall that Republicans have been hoping he would do that for ages. As Ron Fournier wrote last month, in a piece suggesting Republicans might consider tax hikes if Obama agreed to “entitlement cuts”:

What is the GOP incentive to deal? First, getting the signature of a Democratic president on a bill reducing entitlements would be a victory for a generation’s worth of Republican candidates. Casting GOP politicians as Granny-bashers would be harder to do after a Democratic White House tweaks Medicare and Social Security. Second, even token reforms by Obama in 2013, opens the door to deeper entitlement changes in the future.

And without a bipartisan budget deal that backs these cuts, it’s possible Republicans just got an even bigger gift: that chained CPI becomes an idea associated with Democrats alone. That ought to play well in 2014. Of course, the Senate unanimously approved Sen. Bernie Sanders’ resolution opposing a switch to the chained CPI by voice vote, showing no senator in either party wants his or her name on the proposal. For now, publicly at least, Obama stands alone.

The AARP partnered with Woelfel Research, an independent research firm, which conducted 801 interviews of registered voters age 50+ on March 19 and March 20.  The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.5%.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>