Nearly two-thirds of self-described tea party supporters reject “significant” cuts to Social Security as a way to close the federal deficit, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. The
overall margin for preserving entitlements is even higher, with nearly three-quarters of respondents “across all age groups and ideologies” calling big cuts to Social Security and Medicare “unacceptable,” the Journal
At the same time, majorities endorsed means testing with reduced government benefits for wealthier Americans, and further hikes in the retirement age.
The results are “a huge flashing yellow sign for Republicans on how much preparation will be needed if they propose to change Social Security and Medicare,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democrat Peter Hart.
The support for means testing and later retirement gave hope to one Social Security trustee, former Bush administration official Chuck Blahous, who said public receptivity to the general idea of entitlement reform might be increasing.
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