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AARP Survey: Overwhelming bipartisan majority oppose Social Security and Medicare cuts to reduce deficit

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An AARP survey finds that 85 percent of Americans age 50 and over oppose cutting Social Security and Medicare to reduce the federal budget deficit.

The poll shows overwhelming opposition from both Republicans (88%) and Democrats (87%) on cutting Social Security benefits to pay down the deficit. Similarly high proportions of Republicans (86%) and Democrats (87%) strongly oppose cuts to Medicare.

“Older Americans overwhelmingly oppose cutting Social Security and Medicare to reduce the deficit. Proposals like the TRUST Act would give a handful of lawmakers the power to propose cuts behind closed doors with fast-track legislative consideration with minimum transparency and oversight from voters,” said AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer, Nancy LeaMond.

“On behalf of AARP’s nearly 38 million members, we call for full and open debate that ensures public input on protecting the future of our earned benefits. All members of Congress should be held accountable for any action on Social Security and Medicare,” LeaMond said.

AARP is urging Americans to make their voices heard in support of Social Security and Medicare. To date, nearly a quarter million people have sent messages to federal lawmakers demanding they oppose the TRUST Act – legislation that would create a 12-member committee that could fast-track cuts targeting Social Security and Medicare.

The history of these types of efforts show they are flawed from their inception, create further polarization, and violate the trust of the American people, since they do not provide open and accountable deliberation. Elected officials should instead focus on meeting the health and retirement income needs of all Americans.

The new survey comes in advance of the soon-expected annual Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ reports.

Additional findings

People age 65 and older (89%) are slightly more likely than those age 50 to 64 (81%) to strongly oppose reducing Medicare benefits to reduce the deficit, and

People age 65 and older (87%) are slightly more likely than those age 50 to 64 (83%) to strongly oppose reducing Social Security benefits to reduce the deficit.

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This nationwide poll of 1,016 adults ages 50 and older utilized NORC’s AmeriSpeak Omnibus, a monthly multi-client survey.

Interviews were conducted in English online (90%) and by phone (10%) from April 22 through April 26, 2021 and included three AARP questions on federal budget deficits.

Data are weighted to the latest Current Population Survey (CPS) benchmarks developed by the U.S. Census Bureau and are balanced by gender, age, education, race/ethnicity, region and AARP membership.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.33 percent with a design effect of 1.99.

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