PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry's description of Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme" appears to have hurt him with independent voters, a poll released Friday indicated.
The Gallup poll conducted for USA Today found 12 percent of independents said they were more likely to vote for Perry after his remark in the Sept. 9 Republican presidential debate, while 32 percent said they were less likely. Among Republicans, the result was a wash with 19 percent on either side.
Perry's views on Social Security, which originally appeared in "Fed Up," a book published last year, could hurt him indirectly in Republican primaries, Gallup said. More than one-third, 37 percent of Republicans, said they believed the remark hurt his chances of winning the presidency while only 17 percent said it would help him in the November 2012 election.
More than half, 55 percent, of Republicans and 53 percent of independents believe Social Security should be preserved although some changes are required to make it sustainable. Only 41 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of independents say the program needs a complete overhaul.
The poll was conducted by telephone Tuesday and Wednesday. Gallup polled 1,414 Republicans and independents who were 18 or older.
The margin of error is 4 percentage points for independents and for the entire sample, while it is 5 points for Republicans.