CNN Poll: Social Security Requires Changes, But It Isn't a Failure
A majority of Americans think the Social Security system has serious problems and requires major changes, but seniors overwhelmingly oppose Texas Gov. Rick Perry's description of the system as a "monstrous lie" and a failure, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll released early Tuesday.
Perry's opinions on Social Security, articulated most extensively in his 2010 book "Fed Up," have become a flash point in his campaign for the Republican nomination, and Democrats are likely to pounce on those positions should Perry advance to the general election against President Obama.
Americans agree with Perry, however, that the system has major problems. Only four percent of Americans don't believe the current system needs to be changed, while 28 percent believe the system requires minor changes. A majority, 55 percent, believes the system has serious problems that require major changes, and 12 percent think the system's problems are so bad that Social Security should be replaced.
Among Republicans, 74 percent believe the system requires major changes or should be replaced. Americans aged 65 and older are split: 51 percent believe Social Security shouldn't be changed or only requires minor changes, while 48 percent want major changes or to replace the system.
While Americans -- and Republicans, in particular -- are open to major changes to Social Security, they reject Perry's rhetoric that the system is a "monstrous lie" and a "failure." Only 27 percent of Americans think that accurately describes the Social Security system, while 72 percent believe that it doesn't. The poll, notably, did not identify Perry as the author of that statement.