Rick Perry And Social Security: A Florida Debacle? Maybe Not

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September 8, 2011 4:47 a.m.

With Mitt Romney desperately trying to redefine the nomination fight as a battle between a man who understands the importance of Social Security (Romney) and a man who wants to get rid of it (Rick Perry) — and the Perry campaign seemingly willing to let him, there’s a big question for all involved.

How will all this play in Florida? The state’s early primary and huge population makes it a potential game changer in the nomination hunt, and a fight over Social Security seems tailor-made to the electorate there.It might seem obvious that attacking a program aimed squarely at a senior population would cause problems for any candidate competing in Florida. But as the St. Petersburg Times reports, that may not be the case:

Nationally, polls show voters in general oppose major changes to Social Security. Earlier this year a pro-Social Security interest group said its polling found 76 percent of Florida voters opposed cuts to Social Security to lower the deficit. Among Republicans, it was 66 percent. Among tea party members, 56 percent.

Then again, maybe voters don’t care as much as the polls say they do. U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio in his GOP primary battle with Charlie Crist said during nationally televised debate that he was open to changes to Social Security. Crist ran ads against him. But Rubio won easily.

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