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HomePollsPolls Show Gov. Chris Christie Takes Big Risk W/ Entitlement Reform, But It Could Pay Off

Polls Show Gov. Chris Christie Takes Big Risk W/ Entitlement Reform, But It Could Pay Off


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit April 17, 2015 in Nashua, New Hampshire. (PHOTO: DARREN MCCOLLESTER, GETTY IMAGES)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is trying to make a political comeback by unveiling an ambitious and risky plan to reform Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

“Washington refuses to acknowledge that we have a crisis on our hands,” the two-term governor said last week at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. “We need to force them to acknowledge the crisis and fix it.”

The former early GOP frontrunner, who has suffered in the polls since suffering from a series of controversies, repeated his plan this weekend when roughly a dozen of hopefuls descended on Nashua, New Hampshire.

“There are ways that we can put our fiscal house in order in this country, and we need to, and everybody who’s considering running for president of the United States should have to answer to you,” Christie said.

While tackling the so-called “third rail” of American politics has been something strategists in both parties have long-advocated candidates avoid, recent polls suggest the government may just be on to something.

Even though voters are almost evenly divided over Christie’s proposal to reduce or eliminate Social Security payouts to wealthier Americans, according to a new Rasmussen survey. Only 44 percent say they believe those benefits will be there for them when they need them, while 53 percent are not confident.

Not surprisingly, the survey found a significant generation gap, with seniors overwhelmingly saying they are confident that they will receive their benefits. Just 22 percent of voters under 40 agree, presenting an enormous opportunity for any candidate who is able to propose what voters see as a viable plan.

Polling also finds a broad consensus for voter approval on any changes made to entitlements.

That might help to explain the “Tell it Like it Is” signs that accompanied Christie wherever he went this weekend. A solid 65 percent of likely voters don’t believe there is enough money to fund the promises politicians have made to them, despite believing it is important for the government to keep those promises.

In fact, the overwhelming majority who express concern over Christie’s plan say the reason is that they worry that those who earn less might lose their benefits, as well.

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

Latest comments

  • The whale is beached. To make room for 3 or 4 more pipsqueak candidates in the Republican
    clown car they would have to get a clown bus if Christie stays on board.

    • according to Wilbur Romney it’s o.k. to tie a living being to the roof of the car, perhaps that’s what Christie should do….after the car’s roof gets some serious reinforcements….maybe they can teach him to wail like a siren when they run into traffic jams or bridge closures….

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