Illinois Voters Anxious About Their Income, Retirement - Want Candidates For Governor To Address Issues

AARP Illinois Survey Also Reveals Voters Worried About Income not Keeping Up with Cost of Living, Healthcare, Taxes, and Many Feeling They Will Need to Postpone Retirement

Aug 11, 2014, 13:00 ET from AARP Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Aug. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With less than three months before the election Illinois voters ages 50 and older are very anxious about the economy; they believe their incomes are not keeping up with the increasing costs of living, health care costs, or taxes, and are increasingly worried about their prospects for retirement-- with half of them saying they have postponed or will postpone retirement.

Today with the background of Seniors' Day at the State Fair in Springfield, AARP Illinois released a statewide survey of Illinois voters 50 and older showing that jobs, the economy, retirement, affordable utilities and caregiving are at the top of Illinoisans' minds and they want candidates to address these issues before going to the polls in November.

"On paper, the economic outlook is improving, but try telling that to older voters who say their income isn't keeping up with their costs," said AARP Illinois Manager of Advocacy and Outreach Ryan Gruenenfelder. "They're tired of political jargon and spin. They want candidates to start talking about how to improve their financial security."

50+ Voters' Financial Outlook: Anxious
The survey's "Anxiety Index" shows that across party lines, older voters, and particularly those who are not yet retired, feel anxious about their financial security.  Voters 50+ worry most about:

  • Paying too much in taxes (64%),
  • Income not keeping up with cost of living (56%),
  • Not having financial security in retirement (50%),
  • Not having enough to pay for home care or nursing home for themselves or spouses (47%)
  • Not having enough to cover health care expenses (46%). 

The survey also shows 61 percent of all non-retirees say they have or will have to delay their retirement for financial reasons. Ninety-one percent of all voters said that they are looking for candidates who will address their economic anxiety.

Candidates on the issues
Illinois voters feel they are not getting enough information about where the candidates stand on critical issues. When asked to rate gubernatorial candidates' efforts to explain their position on key issues voters overwhelmingly said candidates need to do more to explain their positions on:

  • Jobs and the economy (86%);
  • Helping older individuals and the disabled live independently (81%);
  • Affordable utilities (80%);
  • Supporting family caregivers (79%), and;
  • Helping people save for retirement (72%).

Independent living
Voters overwhelmingly want to live independently as they age and see this as a critical election issue; with (79%) saying this is very important for them in helping them make their voting decisions. Additionally, nearly 70% of voters want their elected officials to make availability of at-home care a priority. Nearly 3 in 4 voters indicated that they would prefer at-home care over other options for themselves or family members, with 73% of voters saying they are current, past or likely future caregivers.

Affordable landline phone service
Access to reliable, affordable landline is critical for Illinoisans as they age. A large majority of 50+ voters use landline phone service nearly always or most of the time, and two in three voters believe the next Governor should preserve this access, a rate that goes up to 71% for voters ages 75 and over.

The 2014 election
With less than three months before the election:

  • Bruce Rauner [R] holds a nine point lead over incumbent Pat Quinn [D], with 13 percent of voters still undecided.
  • Half of Illinois voters 50 and older disapprove of President Obama's job performance, with 42% approving of it.

"AARP has a 28-year history of non-partisan voter engagement and voter education. We do not endorse or support candidates. We do work very hard to inform AARP members, the general public and the media on candidate positions on issues of importance to 50 plus individuals," added Gruenenfelder. "That is why, besides today's voter survey, we will soon be releasing voter guides for both federal and state races so that Illinoisans can learn directly from candidates what their positions are around key issues, before heading to the polls."

Methodology: The bipartisan polling team of Hart Research Associates and North Star Opinion Research conducted a statewide telephone survey among 802 likely 2014 voters age 50/over (margin of error +/-3.5 percentage points) July 3-10, 2014, including 432 retirees (margin of error +/-4.4 percentage points), and 370 non-retirees (margin of error +/-5.5 percentage points). Respondents were selected at random from a list of registered voters and were reached either on a landline or mobile phone.  More details on this survey can be found here: