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Likely South Carolina Primary Voters' Attitudes toward Social Security

This survey of likely South Carolina 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:

  • Approximately nine in ten or more South Carolina 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 95% of Democratic primary voters and 91% of Republican primary voters. In fact, regardless of age, more than half of likely primary voters in each party think this is “very important.”

  • More than eight in ten South Carolina 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 88% of likely Democratic primary voters and 86% of likely Republican primary voters.

  • Nearly nine in ten or more 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 93% of Republican primary voters.

  • Among likely Democratic primary voters, Hillary Clinton is the leading choice for president (preferred by 62%), with Bernie Sanders coming in second (preferred by 28%). Of likely Democratic primary voters, 61% say they will definitely vote for their preferred candidate and another 11% will probably vote for their preferred candidate; however, nearly three in ten (28%) are less certain about who will get their vote.

  • Among likely Republican primary voters, Donald Trump is the leading choice for president (preferred by 30%), followed by Ted Cruz (preferred by 25%) and Marco Rubio (preferred by 20%). Of likely Republican primary voters, 48% say that they will definitely vote for their preferred candidate and another 24% will probably vote for their preferred candidate; however, close to three in ten (29%) 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, 52% would like to know more about Hillary Clinton’s plans, and 49% would like to know more about Bernie Sanders’ plans.  Among Republican primary voters, 43% would like to know more about Donald Trump’s plans, 46% would like to know more about Ted Cruz’s plans, and 47% would like to know more about Marco Rubio’s plans.

This survey of 1,003 likely South Carolina primary voters, including 500 likely Democratic primary voters and 503 likely Republican primary voters, was conducted by telephone for AARP by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research from January 28, 2016 through February 1, 2016.  This report was written by S. 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 the author at SKBrown@aarp.org.