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Older Voters Demand Leadership on Social Security From Next President: AARP Poll

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American voters look for certain qualities in candidates for the presidency, and in a poll released Thursday by AARP, nine in 10 voters said leadership was a very important one.

Eighty-two percent of voters 50 and older in the survey said a basic threshold for presidential leadership was having a plan for Social Security.

Seventy-seven percent of voters wanted candidates to lay out their plans to update Social Security for future generations. Respondents across party lines agreed on this point: Democrats, 78%; Independents, 77%; and Republicans, 76%.

So did an oversample of African-Americans, 87%, and Hispanics/Latinos, 83%.

In addition, 83% of all voters said it was very important that the government take action to make Social Security sound.

“With [20% of] older voters undecided, candidates who fail to tell voters where they stand on Social Security do so at their own risk,” Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond of AARP said in a statement.

Hart Research Associates and GS Strategy Group in late February and early March interviewed 1,659 likely 2016 general election voters age 50 and over, including an oversample of 420 African-American/black and 427 Hispanic/Latino voters.

Economy and Personal Finance

Older voters in the poll generally had a dim view of the national economy, with 55% saying it was performing poorly and only 43% saying it was doing well.

(Check out 9 Social Security Myths Worth Busting on ThinkAdvisor)

The breakdown by party affiliation was stark: in the doing-well column, 62% of Democrats, 42% Independents and 26% of Republicans; in the doing-poorly column: 73% of Republicans, 55% of Independents and 35% of Democrats.

On other issues, only 22% of voters 50 and older said they were very satisfied with their retirement savings, while 37% said they were somewhat or very dissatisfied.

Forty-nine percent were anxious about whether they could meet their financial and economic goals over the next five years, including 43% of Hispanics and 40% of African-Americans.

Gridlock in Washington is a key talking point on the campaign trail, and with good reason.

Seventy-one percent of those polled said the standoff on Capitol Hill had negatively affected their personal finances, with 36% saying they had been greatly affected. Only 24% purported not to have been affected by gridlock.

— Check out 9 Social Security Myths Worth Busting on ThinkAdvisor.