Voters Focus on Retirement, Real Estate

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Job creation, or the current lack thereof, is getting most of the focus as candidates gear up for midterm congressional races. But there are other economic issues -- among them retirement security and real estate values -- that may be top-of-mind as voters prepare for the polls.

Concerns about retirement security are "paramount on voter's minds and will be an important campaign issue," says a recent survey commissioned by Americans for Secure Retirement, a coalition of more than 70 organizations.

"What we're seeing is major concern from voters about being able to maintain a comfortable standard of living throughout retirement," says Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners, a Democratic polling firm that conducted the research with Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm. "Of particular importance is the fact that retirement issues are resonating strongly with those who will most likely play a role in swinging November's elections -- older voters, blue-collar voters and women of all ages and political affiliations."

The survey, conducted Aug. 26-29, was drawn from a national sample of 917 registered voters.

It found that 73% of respondents expressed concern about "being able to maintain a comfortable standard of living throughout retirement." Sixty-two percent said "creating more retirement options that help retirees make sure their savings last throughout their lifetime" should be a top priority for Congress, and 45% said a candidate's commitment to addressing retirement concerns will be a "highly important" factor in how they vote.

The poll broke down the various voting blocs in which a candidate's retirement platform was "one of," "the most" or "a very important factor": voters over 50 (53%); women over 50 (58%); unmarried women (59%), Democratic women (52%); Republican women (51%); retirees (56%); African-Americans (57%); blue-collar voters (52%) and blue-collar women (56%)

Another gauge of the economy and mood of swing voters comes from a separate survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies in conjunction with Momentum Analysis. That study, released in June, was titled Wal-Mart Moms: Economically Squeezed and Up for Grabs this November.

The survey, of 1,250 women voters, included 380 so-called Wal-Mart moms -- female voters who have children under the age of 18 and shop at Wal-Mart (WMT) .

The survey cites the importance of this demographic by pointing out that in the "70 battleground congressional districts for this fall's election, there are 832 Wal-Mart stores and clubs" and that these women could account for up to 16% of the electorate.

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