The administration has made headway in convincing people to believe that a major overhaul of Social Security is needed due to an impending crisis (a claim I disagree with and will discuss in future posts), but the administration’s proposal for change is not polling well. Interestingly, almost half the people say it would be better if congress did not pass a plan this year. Thus, while people believe there is a need for reform, more than half of the respondents do not trust this congress to implement changes in the Social Security system. In addition, more than half favor raising taxes rather than cutting benefits to ensure solvency, and more than half are opposed to means testing if it means a cut in benefits to the middle class:
(CNN) -- President Bush has made overhauling Social Security a key part of his second-term agenda and has spent weeks on the road discussing the subject, but a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found that just over a third of respondents approve of his handling of the issue.
The poll, conducted April 29 to May 1, found that 81 percent of respondents believed that the program would need major changes in the coming years.
Thirty-five percent of respondents said they approved of Bush's handling of Social Security, while 58 percent said they disapproved. … Forty-five percent of respondents said that changes would be needed in a year or two and 36 percent said those changes would be needed within 10 years. Sixteen percent said Social Security would not need to be changed within 10 years.
But 46 percent said they would be better off if Congress did not pass a plan this year, while 27 percent said a plan favored by most Republicans would be better and 22 percent favored a plan supported by most Democrats.
Almost two-thirds of respondents, 62 percent, said it would not be possible to ensure Social Security's long-term future without either raising their taxes or cutting their benefits. Thirty-five percent said it would be possible.
When asked which they would prefer, 53 percent said they would rather raise Social Security taxes and 38 percent said they would rather curb benefits for future recipients. … When asked if they supported a proposal that would curb Social Security benefits for middle and upper income workers, but would not affect lower income workers, 38 percent favored the idea and 54 percent opposed it.
Bush job performance
Respondents were almost equally divided on Bush's job performance, with 48 percent saying they approved of the way he was handling the job of president and 49 percent saying they disapproved.
On other issues:
Forty-five percent of respondents said they approved of Bush's handling of foreign affairs and 49 percent said they disapproved.
Forty-two percent said they approved of his handling of Iraq, compared to 55 percent who said they disapproved.
Forty-three percent approved of his handling of the economy while 53 percent disapproved.
Just over a third of respondents, 34 percent, approved of Bush's handling of energy issues, while 52 percent disapproved.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they approved of Bush's handling of gas prices, and 67 percent said they disapproved.