Iowa Voters Overwhelmingly Say Social Security Is In Trouble, Says New NCPA Poll

Bush Approval High; Gephardt Leads Democrat Contenders

DES MOINES, IA (May 3, 2003) -- More than 80 percent of registered voters in Iowa recognize that the financial future of Social Security is at risk, according to a new poll released today by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). Further, when choosing between several options for saving Social Security, a reformed system that includes personal retirement accounts was by far the most popular option.

"Solving the crisis facing Social Security is the single most important domestic policy issue facing our country," said Mike Whalen, Iowa businessman and NCPA board member. "All candidates for president should tell voters how they plan to save Social Security for generations to come."

According to the NCPA poll, when asked to choose among the three most common reform options, nearly three-fourths of respondents chose a preference. Allowing workers to invest a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts was by far the most popular option:

  • 35.3% favor personal retirement accounts (57.5% of Republicans, 35 % of independents, 13.9% of Democrats);
  • 19.8% favor raising the retirement age (12.3% of Republicans, 17.5% of independents, 28.5% of Democrats);
  • 18.8% favor increasing the payroll tax rate (8.2% of Republicans, 13.6% of independents, 32.5% of Democrats).

"More and more people are coming to recognize that Social Security is in trouble," said Matt Moore, a Social Security policy analyst with the NCPA. "Support for personal accounts is only going to grow as people come to realize the burden our children and grandchildren will face if we resort to cutting benefits and raising taxes."

In addition, in questions asked to help gauge the perspective of respondents, the NCPA poll found that President Bush's job approval rating remains high in Iowa - currently at 66 percent. The poll also discovered that likely Democrat caucus voters currently prefer former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt over his competitors for the nomination.

  • 29.8% support Rep. Dick Gephardt
  • 11.9% support Sen. Joe Lieberman
  • 10.6% support Sen. John Kerry
  • 6% support Gov. Howard Dean
  • 5% support Sen. John Edwards
  • 2.6% support Rep. Dennis Kucinich
  • 2.6% support Sen. Carol Mosely-Braun
  • 0.7% support Rev. Al Sharpton
  • 30% are undecided