Wednesday, March 16, 2005

So folks are skeptical of Bush's plan...

...but they're not reactionary anti-private account Luddites like congressional Democrats.

According to the same Washington Post/ABC News poll which showed only 37 percent of voters approving the Bush Social Security plan, 56 percent support "a plan in which people who chose to invest some of their Social Security contributions in the stock market."

Broken down by age, nearly seven out of ten 18-29 year olds back it, and every age group except 65+ has solid majorities in favor of such reforms.

In this month's poll, 68 percent of adults 18 to 29 years old said they support investing some Social Security contributions in the stock market. That support falls with the respondents' age, to 60 percent among those 40 to 49, 53 percent among those 50 to 64, and 37 percent among those 65 and older.

But young workers present their own political problems. For one thing, they tend to be less politically involved. Only 38 percent of young respondents say they know much about Bush's Social Security proposal, well below the levels seen among middle-aged and elderly respondents.

Given that private accounts carved out from Social Security withholdings is the keystone to Bush's plan, I imagine most of the opposition in this poll to be drawn from vague impressions respondents have from the media coverage, which has played mostly off of partisan potshots and not a rational discussion of the merits and demerits of reform proposals. How can the same percentage of people in this poll OPPOSE Bush's plan yet salivate over the general proposition that private accounts are good?

Seems to me an issue of marketing and branding, and not of substance. The media would be mistaken to portray it as public agreement with Democrats more than a failure of the Bush Administration to sell its plan over the din of opposition whining.