WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–October 21, 2010. According to a new survey released yesterday, while Hispanic AARP members who are likely voters in the 2010 midterm elections are divided on the country’s direction, they are more optimistic than AARP members overall about the future and overwhelmingly want candidates to address key issues like protecting Social Security for future generations and maintaining access to doctors for people in Medicare.
“It has become increasingly clear that in this political environment members are feeling the pressure of what the upcoming election may mean for them in the long run,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “Older Hispanic voters are critically important in midterm elections and united in their concerns, so any candidate running to keep their job or win a new one would do well to heed what they have to say.”
The survey of Hispanic AARP members who are likely voters is part of the Association’s voter education efforts, which include a national survey of all AARP members who are likely voters, as well as state and federal voter guides featuring candidates’ positions, in their own words, on key issues for older Americans (available at www.aarp.org/yourvote).
Social Security and the Deficit: The overwhelming majority (96%) of Hispanic AARP members say that it is important to them that Social Security is there for future generations. Two-thirds (66%) of Hispanic members are confident that they will receive full Social Security benefits, and 98% of likely Hispanic voters say it is important that a 2010 candidate state their commitment to ensuring Social Security as a guaranteed, life-long benefit.
While 90% of Hispanic AARP members are concerned about the national deficit, almost three-of-four (72%) agree with a candidate who says cutting the Social Security benefits of future retirees will place an unfair burden on them. Nearly two-out-of-three (63%) of these voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate who was in favor of doing so.
“Hispanic AARP members are nearly unanimous in their commitment to protect Social Security for future generations of retirees,” said LeaMond. “They are looking for that same commitment from candidates campaigning for their votes.”
Medicare and Doctors: Almost nine-in-ten Hispanic AARP members are concerned about seniors’ access to doctors in Medicare in the face of the program’s imminent 23% pay cut for physicians. Even 89% of older Americans not yet Medicare eligible are concerned this cut would cost them their doctor. Almost two-thirds (65%) of these voters are more likely to support a candidate who promises to fix the current payment system and prevent future cuts to doctors in Medicare.
“The most important person in the lives of many of our members is their grandkid,” said LeaMond. “Next on that list is their doctor. Americans age 50+ want this problem fixed, and they expect their leaders to act accordingly.”
Hispanic AARP members overwhelmingly (77%) say that Medicare fraud is a major problem that adds significantly to the cost of the program. More than four-in-ten (42%) of these voters believe the top reason to crack down on Medicare fraud is to keep Medicare financially strong, with 18% citing the importance of protecting seniors’ health, and 15% of voters saying that fighting fraud will save consumers money.
Older Hispanic AARP members support specific measures to combat Medicare fraud, and almost three-quarters of these voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports these proposals.
Political Environment, Economy: While Hispanic AARP members are evenly divided on their opinions of the country’s current direction (48% right direction – 45% wrong track), they are more optimistic than AARP members overall (31% right direction – 61% wrong track). Older Hispanic voters are largely (70%) dissatisfied with the state of the U.S. economy today, but they tend to be more optimistic about the prospects for the next year (48% get better, 17% get worse, 29% stay the same) as AARP members overall (39% get better, 24% get worse, 31% stay the same).
More than half (54%) of Hispanic members say they are not confident that life for their children’s generation will be better than it was for them.
“Our members are still paying the costs of the recession,” said Raquel Egusquiza, AARP Vice President for Multicultural Markets. “While we’re more familiar with the dollars-and-cents losses, this survey also shows that the recession has sapped some of the optimism that has been at the heart of the Hispanic community.”
AARP commissioned American Viewpoint, Inc. to conduct a series of surveys in consultation with Hart Research Associates. Blinded telephone interviews were conducted with 1,000 AARP members, with an oversample of 250 AARP Hispanic members who are likely voters in the 2010 federal elections, from September 9-21. The margin of error for this survey is ±6.2%.
For more information, visit www.aarp.org/yourvote.