With Republican candidates ginning up outrage over Rick Perry’s remarks on Social Security, one might think that some internal polling shows primary voters will punish Perry for his rhetoric calling the system a “Ponzi scheme.” Gallup tested this theory in its latest survey and discovered that Republicans generally are as attracted as they are repelled by the description of Social Security in those terms. Republican-leaning independents may be a different story, however:
Texas Gov. and presidential candidate Rick Perry’s comments on Social Security, which include calling it a “Ponzi scheme,” appear to be a non-issue for most Republicans. However, they could cost him support with independents should he ultimately win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. As many Republicans say they are more likely to vote for Perry for president because of his views on Social Security as say they are less likely — 19% each. Among independents, 12% are more likely to vote for him and 32% less likely.
This could show some danger for all of the Republican candidates in either attacking or defending Perry’s description. Perry himself has no choice, not unless he wants to make “Ponzi scheme” into the new “ObamneyCare.” Besides, it doesn’t look like Perry minds carrying the argument into the debates, and polling so far doesn’t indicate that it’s costing him anything, at least not yet. He’s more vulnerable on other issues — like immigration and the HPV vaccine mandate — than he is on Social Security, where his actual position doesn’t actually differ much from any other Republican on the debate stage.
That puts Perry’s opponents into a minor quandry. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman can continue to attack the “Ponzi scheme” formulation, but all that will do will be to curry favor with less than a third of independents, a segment to which they’re already appealing (or at least Romney is). Michele Bachmann can attack on this to try to win some independents to her banner, but (a) it might undermine her with her existing base, and (b) after the Gardasil-causes-mental-retardation flameout, she has zero chance of gaining any traction among the independents who might be offended by Ponzi-scheme comparisons.
This poll shows that a War Games strategy might be best for Perry’s Republican opponents tempted into a Ponzi-scheme battle: the best decision is not to play.
Speaking of Ponzi schemes and Social Security, Steven Crowder tries to answer the question of whether Perry is right in his latest video. And if Perry is right, well, shouldn’t someone be told about this? Crowder is indeed a man of action:
If you see something … say something.