Evidence That Social Security Issue May Be Hurting Perry
It’s only one poll, and conservatives will dismiss it because it comes from a “Democratic” polling firm (although I’d note that said firm had a higher accuracy rate in 2010 than many media polls, and far higher than Rasmussen). However, Public Policy Polling is out with a new poll that shows the first signs that Rick Perry’s position on Social Security may be hurting him in the polls:
Americans strongly disagree with the statements Rick Perry made about Social Security in last week’s Republican Presidential debate, and Barack Obama has nearly doubled his lead over Perry nationally in the span of just 3 weeks.
Only 20% of voters agree with Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme to 70% who dissent from that statement. Democrats (4/87) and independents (20/69) are pretty universal in their disagreement with Perry and even Republicans (39/49) don’t stand with him on this one. When it comes to the possibility of actually ending Social Security voters are even more unanimous- 82% oppose taking that step to only 10% who would be supportive of it. If Perry ends up as the Republican nominee and Democrats can effectively convince the electorate that he does want to end Social Security it could be an extremely damaging issue for him.
In fact it appears that Perry’s rhetoric on Social Security could already be causing him problems. When PPP did a national poll three weeks ago Barack Obama led Perry by only 6 points at 49-43. Now that gap has widened to 11 points at 52-41. The main movement has come with Democratic voters. On the previous poll Obama had only a 68 point lead with the party base at 81-13 but now it’s 80 points at 89-9. We know there are a lot of Democratic voters disenchanted with Obama right now but if the GOP puts forward someone like Perry who’s willing to go after one of the Holy Grails of the party’s orthodoxy like Social Security it might scare those voters back into the fold.
In addition to his horse race numbers taking a wrong turn Perry’s favorability numbers are worse than they were 3 weeks ago as well. Only 30% of voters have a positive opinion of him to 50% with a negative one. That’s down from an already not so stellar 33/47 spread. Republicans certainly like him but with independents (23/51) and Democrats (9/74) favor is virtually nonexistent.
Like I said, it’s one poll but this is something worth keeping an eye on over the next several months.