fresh voices from the front lines of change







Most of the chatter around poll numbers you'll hear over the next several weeks will be about whether either body of Congress changes hands. But some of these poll questions actually ask about what the country wants Congress to do.

And it's crystal clear Americans don't want Congress to kill Social Security.

The newest NBC/WSJ poll asked voters what issue positions of congressional candidates made them "comfortable" or "uncomfortable."

The top two choices reflect the nation's continued internal ideological conflict. 61% were comfortable with "cutting federal spending," while 56% support "extending unemployment benefits" -- which would require federal spending.

But dead last -- at a scant 21% -- was support of "phasing out Social Security and instead supports allowing workers to invest their Social Security contributions in the stock market." 68% are "uncomfortable" with anti-Social Security candidates.

That matches the results from last month's Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll conducted on behalf of Campaign for America's Future and other allied groups.

This is not a hypothetical poll question. Several candidates for higher office this year have openly backed "phasing out" Social Security.

But beyond the specific issue of Social Security, the deep support that the federal program retains also indicates that whatever frustrations Americans feel towards incumbents about the pace of economic recovery, we are not experiencing a major swing towards anti-government conservatism.

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