By Huge Margin, Americans More Likely to Back Candidates Who Want to Expand—Not Cut—Safety Net: Poll

In bad news for Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) who have made gutting the safety net their central ambition for 2018, a poll (pdf) published on Friday found that Americans are overwhelmingly more likely to vote for a candidate who proposes expanding—not slashing—Social Security and Medicare and taking federal action to lower prescription drug prices.

According to the survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling:

  • 84 percent of voters are more likely to support a candidate calling for federal action to take on soaring drug prices while just 11 percent are less likely;
  • 66 percent of voters are more likely to support a candidate who wants to expand Social Security, while just 18 percent are less likely; and
  • 64 percent of voters are more likely to support a candidate who proposes expanding Medicare, while 22 percent are less likely.

Highlighting the polling data in a statement on Friday, Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, said the decisive results demonstrate that Americans are deeply opposed to the austerity regime Republicans and President Donald Trump are looking to impose following passage of their massive corporate tax cuts.

“Americans will flock to candidates who run on expanding, not cutting, Social Security and Medicare. Families crushed by prescription drug prices will enthusiastically support political leaders who take on big pharma’s greed.”
—Alex Lawson, Social Security Works

“Anyone seeking elected office needs to fight for what the people want,” Lawson argued. “Americans will flock to candidates who run on expanding, not cutting, Social Security, and Medicare. Families crushed by prescription drug prices will enthusiastically support political leaders who take on Big Pharma’s greed.”

The new polling data comes just days after Democrat Conor Lamb emerged victorious from a closely watched Pennsylvania special election after running on the promise to protect and expand Social Security and Medicare.

Following Lamb’s victory, progressives argued that his messaging on the safety net and his robust support for organized labor should serve as a model for Democrats nationwide.

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And, as The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote, “Lamb’s coherent economic narrative grounded on the issues of organized labor with a steadfast commitment to protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid proved to be a winner.”

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