IMO, the dividend is safe. I think clifp has indicated where the major risk potentially lies - rising interest rates. Of course, that risk is faced by any long-term "fixed income" investment. I purchased some Wells Fargo preferred stock back in early March (I bought the J series which was originally Wachovia preferred) when it was yielding over 18%. The price has more than doubled since then, so it's currently yielding about 8%. A negative of WSF is that it doesn't qualify for the preferential 15% maximum tax rate (which the J-series does qualify for), although we don't know how long the favorable tax rate will be around - in any case, it's good through 2010, and maybe longer if your joint income is below 250K.
I'd rather be governed by the first one hundred names in the telephone book than the Harvard faculty - William F. Buckley