Texas Gov. Rick Perry has attained frontrunner status in the GOP primary process, and now he is starting to get frontrunner scrutiny.
Over the last week or so Perry has been questioned by the media and attacked by his Republican opponents for calling Social Security a “monstrous lie”, a “ponzi scheme” and for suggesting that major changes will have to be made to the program. He sought to calm some nerves at the CNN/Tea Party Express GOP debate on Monday night when he said that nothing would change for seniors currently on the program, but according to a new poll from CNN, that’s not his only problem on the issue: all age groups think Perry’s characterization is “not accurate.”
CNN asked, “The Social Security system has been described as a ‘monstrous lie’ and as a failure. Do you think those phrases are an accurate description of the Social Security system, or don’t you think so?” Overall, 72 percent said it was not, including 81 percent of those respondents age 50 and older. The only age group which was vaguely close was 18 to 34 year olds, which described the statement as not accurate by a 58 - 42 margin. That result actually mirrored the sentiments of those who support the tea party movement, who feel the statement is incorrect by a 59 - 40 split.
Republicans and independents see the issue almost exactly the same: 69 percent of GOPers didn’t think Perry’s statement was right, as did 68 percent of independents. 79 percent Democrats thought the statement was false.
If Americans aren’t particularly enamored with Perry’s language on the issue, they do think that something needs to be done about Social Security. A majority 55 percent said that “Social Security’s problems are serious and can be fixed only with major changes to the current system,” but only 12 percent said the only program should be scrapped in favor of another.
The CNN poll used live telephone interviews with 1,038 adult Americans conducted from September 9th to the 11th, and has a sampling error of three percent.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.