Elections

Florida women voters to presidential candidates: Fix Social Security system

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, shown at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, leads rival Donald Trump 47 percent to 38 percent in an AARP poll of Florida female voters ages 50 and above. Eleven percent of those surveyed said they were undecided.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, shown at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, leads rival Donald Trump 47 percent to 38 percent in an AARP poll of Florida female voters ages 50 and above. Eleven percent of those surveyed said they were undecided. AP

Florida women voters ages 50 years and up want action on the nation’s outdated Social Security system and they want it fast, according to an AARP poll released Tuesday.

Unless the program is updated by 2034, according to AARP, future retirees might lose up to $10,000 per year in benefits.

The poll showed that 74 percent of 50-plus women voters in Florida agreed that the next president and Congress should act immediately on a Social Security update. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said that they would be impacted — beneficiaries could face a cut of nearly a quarter of their benefits — if the program isn’t fixed by 2034.

“Women depend enormously on Social Security and this survey shows they’re concerned about the program’s future,” said Leslie Spencer, associate state director for AARP Florida. She’s in charge of AARP’s Take A Stand initiative in the state. It’s a national campaign focused on the steps needed to keep Social Security strong for future generations.

“Women voters say they haven’t heard much on the major-party candidates’ plans to update Social Security,” said Spencer.

The poll showed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leading Republican rival Donald Trump by a 47 percent to 38 percent margin among Florida female voters ages 50 and above. Eleven percent of the women voters said they were undecided.

But 64 percent of the women surveyed said they hadn’t seen or heard what Clinton’s plans for Social Security might be and 75 percent said they weren’t aware of Trump’s plans. Still, half of the women voters said they thought Clinton would do a better job with Social Security. Thirty-eight percent said Trump would handle Social Security better.

Earlier this year, AARP asked Trump and Clinton to explain where they stand on Social Security. The organization published Clinton’s and Trump’s responses in its July Bulletin.

In her response, Clinton said there is no way to guarantee future dignity in retirement “without asking the highest-income Americans to pay more, including options to tax some of their income above the current Social Security cap, and taxing some of their income not currently taken into account by the Social Security system.”

She said she was opposed to both privatization of the system and reducing cost-of-living adjustments.

Trump said the key to keeping Social Security strong in the future “is to have an economy that is robust and growing.”

First Trump said he would work with Congress to institute a comprehensive tax-reform plan and other “aspects of a pro-growth agenda.” He did not provide any specifics on a Social Security update, but said with tax reforms and a growing economy, “we will be able to secure Social Security for the future.”

The 717 Florida women voters aged 50 and older contacted for the Aug. 1-8 poll also said they favored a proposal to let family caregivers who take time off from work receive a credit for time devoted to care-giving when calculating Social Security benefits.

The women favored that proposal 67 percent to 30 percent. Among Democrats, 75 percent favored the proposal but it also received support from 57 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of independents.

The poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent.

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