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Politics as Usual: A Survey of Washington State Likely Voters about Social Security, Medicare and Political Advertising

This report presents findings from a survey of registered, likely voters in the state of Washington that focuses on views about Medicare and Social Security, knowledge about regulations surrounding political advertising, views of political advertising and views about the news media.

Key findings show:

  • Nearly all respondents believe that Social Security is important to people’s financial security in retirement (98%) and Medicare is important to people’s health in retirement (97%).  Equally strong support for these programs is seen across ages groups (Social Security: 18-49 year olds: 97%; 50-64 year olds: 99%; 65+ year olds: 99%; Medicare: 18-49 year olds: 98%; 50-64 year olds: 97%; 65+ year olds: 98%).  

  • More than three-quarters of respondents (81%) agree that politicians in Washington, DC are trying to make too many decisions behind closed doors regarding Social Security and Medicare. And more than 9 in 10 (91%) think that politcians need to spend more time listening to ordinary citizens like them when it comes to decisions about these programs.

  • Less than one-third of respondents (31%) know that it is not a violation of federal law for candidates to use deceptive or misleading statements in political advertising.


  • More than two-thirds of respondents (70%) think it is difficult to determine if information on political candidates and issues in the news media is accurate.  And more than 8 in 10 respondents (84%) think the news media has a fair amount or a great deal of political bias.

This survey was conducted among a random sample of 1,001 registered, likely voters in the state of Washington.  Fielded from March 26 through April 3, 2012, these survey results were weighted by age and gender.  For more information, contact Karla Pak at (206) 517-9388.

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