AARP Research

Likely New Hampshire Primary Voters' Attitudes toward Social Security

This survey of likely New Hampshire primary voters age 18+ examines voters’ views on the 2016 presidential election, including the importance of candidates laying out their plans for the future of Social Security and how important it is for the next president and congress to take action to make Social Security financially sound. It also asks respondents which candidate they expect to vote for and how certain they are of their choice.

Key findings include:

  • Nine in ten or more New Hampshire primary voters across party lines and age groups think it is important for presidential candidates to lay out a plan to make Social Security financially sound for future generations.  This includes 93% of Democratic primary voters and 92% of Republican primary voters. In fact, regardless of age, nearly half or more of likely primary voters in each party think this is “very important.”

  • More than three in four New Hampshire primary voters, across party lines and across age groups, agree that having a plan for Social Security is a basic threshold for presidential leadership. This includes 89% of likely Democratic primary voters and 80% of likely Republican primary voters.

  • Nearly nine in ten or more New Hampshire primary voters across both parties and age groups believe it is important that the next president and congress take action to make Social Security financially sound.  This includes 96% of Democratic primary voters as well as 92% of Republican primary voters.

  • Among likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders is the leading choice for president (preferred by 59%), with Hillary Clinton coming in second (preferred by 33%). Of likely Democratic primary voters, 63% say they will definitely vote for their preferred candidate and another 16% will probably vote for their preferred candidate; however, more than one in five (21%) are less certain about who will get their vote.

  • Among likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire, Donald Trump is the leading choice for president (preferred by 32%) with Marco Rubio (preferred by 14%) and John Kasich (preferred by 13%) nearly tied for second place.  Of likely Republican primary voters, 49% say that they will definitely vote for their preferred candidate and another 25% will probably vote for their preferred candidate; however, more than one in four (26%) are less certain about who will get their vote.

  • When asked for their thoughts about the candidates’ plans for the future of Social Security, many Democratic and Republican primary voters said they want to hear more information from candidates in their party. For example, among Democratic primary voters, 44% would like to know more about Hillary Clinton’s plans, and 41% would like to know more about Bernie Sanders’ plans.  Among Republican primary voters, 49% would like to know more about Donald Trump’s plans, 41% would like to know more about Ted Cruz’s plans, and 40% would like to know more about Marco Rubio’s plans.

This survey of 1,004 likely New Hampshire primary voters was conducted by telephone for AARP by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research from January 12, 2016 through January 16, 2016.  By design, half of the respondents consist of likely Democratic primary voters (501) and half consist of likely Republican primary voters (503).  This report was written by Kathi Brown, Senior Research Advisor, AARP Research.  All media inquiries about this report should be directed to (202) 434-2560. For all other questions, contact SKBrown@aarp.org.

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