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       Social Security  (p. 3)


Polls listed chronologically. Data are from nationwide surveys of Americans 18 & older.

 
 

CBS News/New York Times Poll. Feb. 24-28, 2005. N=1,111 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

   

.

"Would you favor or oppose raising the age at which a person can retire and receive Social Security benefits?"

   

.

Favor Oppose Unsure
% % %
2/24-28/05 19 77 4
   

.

"Would you favor or oppose making the Social Security system voluntary, so that people can choose not to pay Social Security taxes and not to get benefits?"

   

.

Favor Oppose Unsure
% % %
2/24-28/05 37 59 4
   

.

"President Bush says that Social Security is facing a funding crisis and that by the year 2042 the program will be bankrupt. What do you think he means? Do you think he means the federal government will have to reduce Social Security benefits it pays retirees because it's not collecting enough money to pay full benefits, or the federal government will not be able to pay retirees any Social Security benefit because it has no money at all?"

   

.

Reduce
Benefits
No Money
At All
Full Benefits
But Borrow
(vol.)
Unsure
% % % %
2/24-28/05 40 47 3 10
   

.

"Do you think the Social Security program will be bankrupt by the year 2042 if no major changes are made now, or not?"

   

.

Will Will Not Depends
(vol.)
Unsure
% % % %
2/24-28/05 63 25 4 8

 

CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Feb. 25-27, 2005. Nationwide.

.

"Which do you think is riskier for average American workers today: investing some of their Social Security taxes in stocks and bonds, or relying on the Social Security system to pay them the current level of benefits when they retire?" Options rotated. Form B (N=482 adults, MoE 5).

.

Investing
In Market
Relying on
S.S. System
Unsure
% % %

2/25-27/05

46 50 4

 

Associated Press/Ipsos poll conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs. Feb. 22-24, 2005. N=1,000 adults nationwide. MoE 3.1.

.

"Who do you trust more to handle the issue of Social Security . . . ?"

.

The
Democrats
The
Republicans
Neither
(vol.)
Unsure
% % % %
2/22-24/05 43 37 16 4

.

"President Bush has proposed that workers who are currently under age 55 should be given the option of investing a portion of their Social Security taxes in the stock market and in bonds, while at the same time reducing the guaranteed Social Security benefit they get when they retire. Depending on what happens to those investments in stocks and bonds, their Social Security benefit could be higher or lower. Do you support or oppose this proposal?" Asked of half of the sample

.

Support Oppose Unsure
% % %
2/22-24/05 39 55 6

.

"Some people have proposed that workers who are currently under age 55 should be given the option of investing a portion of their Social Security taxes in the stock market and in bonds, while at the same time reducing the guaranteed Social Security benefit they get when they retire. Depending on what happens to those investments in stocks and bonds, their Social Security benefit could be higher or lower. Do you support or oppose this proposal?" Asked of other half of the sample

.

Support Oppose Unsure
% % %
2/22-24/05 45 51 4

.

"If you personally were allowed to invest part of your Social Security taxes in the stock market or in bonds, do you expect that you would receive more money in retirement, about the same amount of money, or less money in retirement than if the government were managing all of your Social Security taxes?" Asked of half of the sample

.

More Less Same Unsure
% % % %
2/22-24/05 39 34 22 5

.

"If Americans were allowed to invest part of their Social Security taxes in the stock market or in bonds, do you expect that most would receive more money in retirement, about the same amount of money, or less money in retirement than if the government were managing all of their Social Security taxes?" Asked of other half of the sample

.

More Less Same Unsure
% % % %
2/22-24/05 35 41 18 6

.

"Please tell me if you would support or oppose each of the following measures as ways of helping to solve the financial problems facing the Social Security program. . . ."

.

Support Oppose Unsure
% % %

.

"Requiring those earning more than $90,000 per year to pay Social Security taxes on all of their earnings"

2/22-24/05 74 24 2

.

"Increasing the retirement age for all workers"

2/22-24/05 32 66 2

.

"Increasing payroll taxes on all workers"
2/22-24/05 30 68 2

.

"Cutting retirement benefits for future retirees"
2/22-24/05 11 87 2

.

"Cutting retirement benefits for current retirees"
2/22-24/05 7 93 -

 

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). Feb. 10-14, 2005. N=1,008 adults nationwide. MoE 3.1.

.

"Recently there has been discussion in Congress about changing the Social Security and health care systems. Some of the proposals on these issues would offer people fewer guarantees for the future, but would give people more responsibility and personal ownership. Thinking about Social Security and health care, where do you believe Congress should place more emphasis: on providing guarantees for the future, or on giving people more responsibility and personal control?"

.

Guarantees Personal
Control
Depends
(vol.)
Unsure
% % % %
2/10-14/05 61 32 5 2

.

"Which is your greater concern about changing the Social Security system: going too far in changing the system and harming a good program, or doing too little to change the system and risking that the system will fall apart?"

.

Going
Too Far
Doing
Too Little
Unsure
% % %
2/10-14/05 48 46 6

 

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Feb. 8-9, 2005. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"Do you feel that you generally understand how the proposal to let people invest a portion of their Social Security contributions in personal or private accounts would work or do you feel that you need more information to understand the proposal?"

.

Generally
Understand
Need More
Information
Unsure    
% % %    
2/8-9/05 37 59 4    

.

"Which political party -- the Democrats or the Republicans -- do you trust more to handle Social Security today?" Options rotated

.

Democrats Republicans Neither
(vol.)
Both
(vol.)
Unsure
% % % % %
2/8-9/05 40 34 15 3 8

.

"Do you think you would be better off or worse off if George W. Bush's plan for Social Security passes?"

.

Better Off Worse Off No Differ-
ence (vol.)
Unsure  
% % % %  
2/8-9/05 27 41 14 17  

.

"Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? . . ."

.

    Agree Disagree Unsure
    % % %

The Social Security system is in a state of crisis

57 33 10

.

Americans today have a duty to reform Social Security so the system will be available for future generations

82 11 7

.

If the Social Security system is left unchanged, the program will go bankrupt by the year 2042

51 31 18

.

"I am going to read some pairs of arguments that have been made for and against allowing workers to invest a portion of their Social Security contributions in private accounts. Please tell me which statement is closer to your opinion. The first pair of statements is:

.

"Allowing private investments will strengthen Social Security and lead to the long-term stability of the system. OR, Allowing private investments will weaken Social Security and is a step toward dismantling the system." Options rotated

.

Strengthen Weaken Unsure    
% % %    
2/8-9/05 42 39 19    

.

"It is important enough to create private accounts that we should do it even if it leads to a larger federal deficit in the short term. OR, We should not be considering changes to the Social Security system that could lead to a larger federal deficit." Options rotated

.

Even if
Larger
Deficit
Not if
Larger
Deficit
Unsure    
% % %    
2/8-9/05 33 49 18    

 

CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Feb. 4-6, 2005. N=1,010 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"Which of these statements do you think best describes the Social Security system: it is in a state of crisis, it has major problems, it has minor problems, or it does not have any problems?"

.

Crisis Major
Problems
Minor
Problems
No
Problems
Unsure
% % % % %

2/4-6/05

17 55 23 4 1

1/7-9/05

18 53 24 3 2

.

"Assuming there would be no change in Social Security benefits for those who are now age 55 or older, do you think each of the following would be a good idea or a bad idea to address concerns with the Social Security system? How about . . . ?"

.

    Good Idea Bad Idea Unsure
    % % %

Limiting benefits for wealthy retirees

68 29 3

.

Requiring higher income workers to pay Social Security taxes on ALL of their wages

67 30 3

.

Further reducing the total amount of benefits a person would receive if they retired early 40 57 3

.

Increasing Social Security taxes for all workers 37 60 3

.

Increasing the age at which people are eligible to receive full benefits 35 63 2

.

Reducing retirement benefits for people who are currently under age 55 29 67 4

.

"Do you think the Social Security system will or will not be bankrupt by the year 2042 if major changes are not made to the system?"

.

Will Will Not Unsure
% % %

2/4-6/05

64 30 6

.

"Suppose Americans were allowed to invest a portion of all the Social Security taxes that they paid in their lifetime in stocks and bonds. When they retired, do you think most Americans would receive higher Social Security benefits than the government would provide, about the same benefits, or lower Social Security benefits than the government would provide?" Options rotated

.

Higher Same Lower Unsure
% % % %

2/4-6/05

30 27 37 6

.

"What about you? Do you think that if you had invested a portion of all the Social Security taxes that you have paid in your lifetime in stocks and bonds that you would receive higher Social Security benefits than the government would provide, about the same benefits, or lower Social Security benefits than the government would provide?" Options rotated

.

Higher Same Lower Unsure
% % % %

2/4-6/05

40 29 27 4

 

Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Feb. 3-4, 2005. N=1,009 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"Now on the subject of Social Security: When you retire, do you expect that Social Security will be able to pay all the benefits you are entitled to under current law, or not?"

.

Will Will Not Already
Retired/Get
Benefits
(vol.)
Unsure
% % % %
ALL 39 43 13 5
  18-34 years 32 62 0 6
  35-44 years 37 56 0 7
  45-54 years 42 49 4 5
  55 & older 44 16 37 3

.

"President Bush says that Social Security is facing a funding crisis and that by about 2040 the system will be bankrupt. Based on what you've heard or read, do you agree or disagree that Social Security faces a funding crisis?"

.

Agree Disagree Unsure
% % %
2/3-4/05 65 26 9

.

"If there is a looming financial problem for Social Security, which of the following do you think is the most important reason? Social Security benefits are too generous. Payroll taxes aren't high enough to fund the system. The baby boom generation is so large that the next generation of workers won't be able to pay enough into the system to fund their benefits." Options rotated

.

Benefits
Too
Generous
Taxes Too
Low
Too Many
Boomers
Other
(vol.)
Unsure
% % % % %
2/3-4/05 9 14 56 12 9

.

"In general, which do you think is the best way to run Social Security? Taxing one generation to pay for the retirement of another, the way the system has operated since it started in 1935. OR, Using the government to direct workers' money into the stock market in an effort to generate a higher rate of return on retirement savings."

.

Current
System
Use Stock
Market
Neither/
Other (vol.)
Unsure
% % % %
2/3-4/05 40 39 11 10

.

"Which of the following, if any, would you support to keep Social Security financially solvent in the future? . . ."

.

Support Don't
Support
Unsure
% % %

Raising Social Security payroll taxes

2/3-4/05 43 50 7

.

Cutting Social Security benefits to retirees

2/3-4/05 12 85 3

.

"Bush has proposed allowing one third of Social Security payroll tax money to be diverted into individual savings accounts. Do you think this will result in a better deal for retirees than the current system, or not?"

.

Better Deal Not a
Better Deal
Unsure
% % %
ALL 40 44 16
  18-34 years 48 39 13
  35-44 years 44 40 16
  45-54 years 43 40 17
  55 & older 29 56 15

.

"Do you think individual retirement accounts would do more to keep Social Security strong, or do more to weaken the system?"

.

Keep
Strong
Weaken Neither/
Not Much
Difference
(vol.)
Unsure
% % % %
2/3-4/05 43 41 3 13

.

"In general, do you think investing Social Security money in the stock market is too big a risk or is a necessary risk to improve the rate of return?"

.

Too Big
A Risk
Necessary
Risk
Unsure
% % %
ALL 56 36 8
  18-34 years 46 48 6
  35-44 years 58 37 5
  45-54 years 56 39 5
  55 & older 65 25 10

.

"If people's investments in Social Security individual retirement accounts perform poorly and lose money, do you think the government should be responsible for protecting them in some way from that loss, or not?"

.

Should Be Should
Not Be
Unsure
% % %
ALL 60 34 6
  18-34 years 73 23 4
  35-44 years 67 29 4
  45-54 years 56 40 4
  55 & older 50 42 8

 

Quinnipiac University Poll. Jan. 25-31, 2005. N=2,100 registered voters nationwide. MoE 2.1.

.

"Which of these statements do you think best describes the Social Security system: it is in a state of crisis, it has major problems, it has minor problems, or it does not have any problems?"

.

Crisis Major
Problems
Minor
Problems
No
Problems
Unsure
% % % % %
1/25-31/05 17 50 27 3 2

.

"Do you support or oppose raising Social Security taxes to help bring more money into the Social Security system?"

.

Support Oppose Unsure
% % %
1/25-31/05 35 60 5

.

"Do you support or oppose increasing the age to qualify for Social Security benefits to help bring more money into the Social Security system?"

.

Support Oppose Unsure
% % %
1/25-31/05 30 67 3

.

"Do you support or oppose reducing Social Security benefits to help bring more money into the Social Security system?"

.

Support Oppose Unsure
% % %
1/25-31/05 16 81 3

.

"Under the current system people pay Social Security taxes on their income only up to the first $90,000 they earn. Do you support or oppose raising this $90,000 income cap to help bring more money into the Social Security system?"

.

Support Oppose Unsure
% % %
1/25-31/05 69 27 4

.

"Do you support or oppose allowing individuals to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in the stock market?"

.

Support Oppose Unsure
% % %
ALL 51 43 6
  Republicans 64 30 6
  Democrats 38 57 5
  Independents 53 43 4
  18-40 years 61 35 4
  41-59 years 53 43 4
  60 & older 34 56 10

.

"Who do you think should design a program to reform Social Security: a nonpartisan commission or Congress?"

.

Commis-
sion
Congress Unsure
% % %
1/25-31/05 65 26 9

 

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Jan. 25-26, 2005. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"Which of the following options do you think poses the larger risk: investing some of your Social Security contributions in mutual funds, which are subject to the fluctuations of the stock market, OR, leaving all of your Social Security funds in the system, which could run out of money and possibly not pay you full benefits?" Options rotated

.

  %
Investing in mutual funds 35
Leaving all funds in the system 43
Both equal (vol.) 11
Neither (vol.) 6
Unsure 6

.

"Some people would like to have more control over their Social Security savings and personally make investment decisions for a small portion of those funds, while other people would rather leave all of their Social Security contributions in the system and not make any investment decisions. Which comes closer to your view -- would you rather have more control over your Social Security funds, or prefer to leave the funds in the system?"

.

More
Control
Leave in
System
Unsure
% % %
1/25-26/05 52 42 6

.

"Some people think individuals should be allowed to put a small portion of their Social Security contributions into a personal account, which could be invested in mutual funds. While the personal accounts would be subject to the fluctuations of the stock market, individuals would own the funds when they retire. Others think it is better to leave that money in the Social Security system so it could be used to help pay benefits when you retire. Which comes closer to your view?"

.

Personal
Accounts
Leave in
System
Unsure
% % %
1/25-26/05 44 49 7

 

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). Jan. 13-17, 2005. N=1,007 adults nationwide. MoE 3.1.

.

"In winning the presidential election, President Bush says that the voters gave him a mandate -- meaning he believes that the voters have backed his positions on the issues and want him to pursue policies that he advocated during the campaign. Speaking for yourself, do you think that President Bush has a mandate from the voters to allow workers to invest some of their Social Security taxes in the stock market?" Half-sample (Form B)

.

Has a
Mandate
Does Not Depends
(vol.)
Unsure
% % % %
1/13-17/05 33 56 2 9
12/9-13/04 35 51 3 11

.

"Most people agree that the Social Security system is in trouble and needs more money if it is going to continue to pay benefits to people when they retire. Which one of the following options would you prefer to bring more money into the Social Security system? If you feel that none of these options is acceptable, please say so. . . ."

.

      %
Gradually increasing the Social Security payroll tax 24

.

Gradually raising the retirement age at which people can collect Social Security 16

.

Having the federal government borrow more money than it currently does to put into the Social Security system 12

.

Gradually reducing the amount of money people receive as their Social Security benefit 5

.

None of these options is acceptable 40

.

Unsure 3

.

"Would you favor or oppose a plan to change the Social Security system that includes gradually reducing the amount of money that people receive as their guaranteed Social Security benefit in exchange for allowing workers to invest some of their Social Security taxes in the stock market?"

.

Favor Oppose Depends
(vol.)
Unsure
% % % %
1/13-17/05 33 56 4 7

 

ABC News/Washington Post Poll. Jan. 12-16, 2005. N=1,007 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"For each issue I've named, please tell me if you think Bush will or will not make substantial progress on it in the next four years. Social Security."

.

Will Will Not Unsure    
% % %    

1/12-16/05

46 53 1    

.

"When you think about how the Bush Administration may deal with Social Security, do you feel mostly hopeful or mostly fearful, or would you say your feelings are mixed?"

.

Hopeful Fearful Mixed Unsure  
% % % %  

1/12-16/05

35 37 27 1  

.

"What do you think of the nation's Social Security system? Do you think that by the time you retire there will be enough money in the system to pay you the benefits you are entitled to, or do you think there will not be enough money left to pay you benefits?"

.

Will Be Will Not Be Not
Covered
(vol.)
Unsure  
% % % %  

1/12-16/05

36 60 1 4  
12/16-19/04 32 63 1 4  
5/00 38 51 3 7  

.

"One idea to help keep the Social Security system funded is to reduce the rate of growth in guaranteed benefits for future retirees by up to one and a half percent a year. Would you support or oppose this reduction in the rate of growth in benefits for future retirees as a way to help keep Social Security funded?"

.

Support Oppose Unsure    
% % %    

1/12-16/05

47 48 5    

.

"Another idea would let workers put some of their Social Security savings into stocks or bonds if they wanted to. That could produce higher or lower benefits depending on how the investments perform. Would you support or oppose this stock market option for Social Security?"

.

Support Oppose Unsure    
% % %    

1/12-16/05

55 41 4    

.

"What would you think of a plan that included both these ideas -- a reduction in the rate of growth in Social Security benefits for future retirees, and a stock market option for Social Security contributions? Would you support or oppose that?"

.

Support Oppose Unsure    
% % %    

1/12-16/05

54 41 5    

 

CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Jan. 7-9, 2005. Nationwide.

.

"Turning to Social Security: Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?" N=743 non-retired adults, MoE 4

.

Yes No Doesn't
Apply (vol.)
Unsure
% % % %

1/7-9/05

45 50 1 4

3/01

52 41 2 5

.

"When you retire, how much do you expect to rely on Social Security: as your main source of income, as a minor source of income, or not at all?" Options rotated. N=743 non-retired adults, MoE 4.

.

Main
Source
Minor
Source
Not
At All
Unsure
% % % %

1/7-9/05

18 57 24 1

8/00

17 55 26 2

7/98

17 58 23 2

.

"Do you think the Social Security system will be able to continue to pay you full benefits, or do you think there will eventually be cuts in your benefits?" N=265 retired adults, MoE 7

.

Full
Benefits
Cuts Doesn't
Apply (vol.)
Unsure
% % % %

1/7-9/05

57 32 4 7

.

"How much do you currently rely on Social Security: as your main source of income, as a minor source of income, or not at all?" Options rotated. N=265 retired adults, MoE 7.

.

Main
Source
Minor
Source
Not
At All
Unsure
% % % %

1/7-9/05

44 40 14 2

 

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Jan. 5-9, 2005. N=1,503 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"People have different opinions about how the Social Security system might be changed for the future. When decisions about Social Security's future are being made, which do you think is MORE important: keeping Social Security as a program with a GUARANTEED monthly benefit based on a person's earnings during their working life, OR, letting younger workers DECIDE for THEMSELVES how some of their own contributions to Social Security are invested, which would cause their future benefits to be higher or lower depending on how well their investments perform?" Options rotated

.

  1/05 10/00
  % %
Guaranteed benefit 65 54
Younger workers decide 29 31
Equally important (vol.) 1 9
Neither important (vol.) 1 1
Unsure 4 5

.

"Do you think the Social Security system in this country works pretty well and requires only MINOR CHANGES, do you think it needs MAJOR CHANGES, or do you think it needs to be COMPLETELY REBUILT?"

.

Minor
Changes
Major
Changes
Rebuilt Unsure
% % % %
1/5-9/05 47 34 15 4

 

ABC News/Washington Post Poll. Dec. 16-19, 2004. N=1,004 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"Which of the following four statements comes closest to your own view of the Social Security program? Would you say the program is in crisis, the program has major problems but is not in crisis, the program has minor problems, or the program has no problems?"

.

Crisis Major
Problems
Minor
Problems
No
Problems
Unsure
% % % % %
12/16-19/04 25 49 23 1 1

.

"Would you support or oppose a plan in which people who chose to could invest some of their Social Security contributions in the stock market?"

.

Support Oppose Unsure    
% % %    
12/16-19/04 53 44 3    

.

Asked of those who support stock market plan:
"What if setting up a stock-market option for Social Security means the government has to borrow as much as two trillion dollars to set it up, with that money to be paid back over time through cost savings from the current system? Would you support or oppose the stock-market option for Social Security if this borrowing was necessary to set it up?"

.

Support Oppose Unsure    
% % %    
12/16-19/04 46 47 7    

.

"People in a plan like this would get higher Social Security benefits if the stock market went up, but lower Social Security benefits if the stock market went down. Knowing that, would you personally put some of your Social Security money in the stock market, or not?"

.

Would Would
Not
Unsure    
% % %    
12/16-19/04 37 62 1    

 

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. Dec. 14-15, 2004. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"Do you think people should have the choice to invest privately up to five percent of their Social Security contributions, or not?"

.

Should
Have
Choice
Should
Not
Unsure
  % % %
12/14-15/04 60 27 13
1/21-22/04 67 24 9
12/3-4/03 67 23 10

.

"If you had the choice today, do you think you would invest privately a small percentage of your own Social Security money?"

.

Would Would
Not
Unsure
  % % %
12/14-15/04 55 35 10
12/3-4/03 57 34 9
       
"Do you expect to receive Social Security benefits after you retire?"

.

Yes No Already
Receive
(vol.)
Unsure
  % % % %
12/14-15/04 62 20 16 2
12/3-4/03 60 17 20 3
5/02 63 16 18 3

 

CBS News/New York Times Poll. Nov. 18-21, 2004. N=885 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

 

.

"If people who chose to invest their Social Security taxes in the stock market lost their money, should it be the government's responsibility to make up the losses, or should this not be the government's responsibility?"
   

.

Should
Be
Should
Not Be
Unsure
% % %
11/04 15 81 4
11/02 12 85 3
1/02 10 85 5
8/01 12 85 3
6/01 9 88 3
5/00 8 89 3

 

CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Oct. 24-26, 2003. N=1,006 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"A proposal has been made that would allow people to put a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts that would be invested in private stocks and bonds. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?"

.

Favor Oppose Unsure
% % %
10/03 62 34 4
11/02 57 40 3
9/02 52 43 5
6/02 57 39 4
4/02 63 33 4
1/02 63 33 4
11/01 64 31 5
8/01 62 34 4
3/01 63 30 7
6/00 65 30 5

 

The Los Angeles Times Poll. Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2003. N=1,385 adults nationwide. MoE 3 (total sample).

.

"Do you approve or disapprove of George W. Bush's proposal to allow individuals to divert part of their Social Security payroll taxes into private accounts which they could personally invest in the stock market for their retirement?"

.

ALL Demo-
crats
Indepen-
dents
Repub-
licans

%

%

%

%

Approve

54

37

52

73

Disapprove

40

58

42

20

Don't know

6

5

6

7


 

The Los Angeles Times Poll. Dec. 12-15, 2002. N=1,305 adults nationwide. MoE 3 (total sample).

.

"There has been some talk about allowing younger workers to divert payroll tax money from Social Security into private investment accounts which they can then manage themselves. Some people say this is a good thing because it is possible to earn a higher rate of return in the stock market. Others say the stock market is too unpredictable to trust it with Social Security funds. What do you think? Do you approve or disapprove of allowing younger workers to divert their payroll tax money from Social Security into private investment accounts?"

ALL Demo-
crats
Indepen-
dents
Repub-
licans

%

%

%

%

Approve

38

25

33

55

Disapprove

55

66

59

42

Don't know

7

9

8

3


 

The Harris Poll. July 18-22, 2002. N=1,010 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

 

.

"President Bush supports partial privatization of Social Security, which he would accomplish by letting individuals invest a portion of payroll taxes in stocks and other investments, with the goal to raise investment returns and assure a better retirement system. How strongly do you support or oppose this proposal? Would you say you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose this proposal?"

Strongly
Support
Somewhat
Support
Somewhat
Oppose
Strongly
Oppose
Not
Sure
% % % % %
7/02 21 35 14 24 6
7/01 25 31 16 23 5

 

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Robert Teeter (R). July 19-21, 2002. N=500 adults nationwide.

 

"A proposal has been made that would allow people to put a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts that would be invested in stocks and bonds. Some people think that individuals would have more money for retirement if they were allowed to invest and manage some of their Social Security payroll taxes themselves. Others think that it is too risky and could leave some people without adequate money for retirement if the stock market were to decline in value significantly. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?"

 

Favor Oppose Unsure
% % %
7/02 41 55 4
12/01 46 48 6

 

CNN/Time Poll conducted by Harris Interactive. July 10-11, 2002. N=1,003 adults nationwide. MoE 3.1.

.

"Do you favor or oppose allowing individuals to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in the U.S. stock market?"

.

Favor Oppose Unsure
% % %
7/02 50 43 7
3/01 45 46 9
9/00 53 39 8
1/99 66 28 6

 

FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. May 14-15, 2002. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE 3.

.

 
"Do you think people should have the choice to invest privately a small amount of their Social Security contributions or not?"
%
Yes 66
No 25
Not sure 9

.

 
"If you had the choice today, do you think you would privately invest some of your own Social Security money?"
%
Yes 58
No 34
Not sure 8

 

Bloomberg News Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. April 30-May 5, 2002. N=1,200 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"Whom do you trust the most to protect Social Security: President Bush, or the Democrats in Congress, or the Republicans in Congress?"
5/02 2/02
% %
President Bush 27 22
Democrats in Congress 41 40
Republicans in Congress 16 15
None of these (vol.) 8 14
Don't know 8 9

.

"Social Security affects just about every American in some way, but the issues involved in changing the program are complicated. I'd like your opinion of some specific proposals for how Social Security might be changed in the future. If I ask you anything you feel you can't answer, just tell me. Do you favor or oppose the following proposal: [see below]?"
Favor Oppose Neither
(vol.)
Don't
Know
 
% % % %
"Changing Social Security from a system where the GOVERNMENT collects the taxes that workers and their employers contribute, to a system where INDIVIDUALS invest some of their payroll tax contributions THEMSELVES."
48 42 4 6

.

"INCREASING the payroll tax that workers and employers each pay into the Social Security system from 6.2 percent to 6.7 percent."
39 53 3 5

.

"Changing Social Security from a system where the money in the trust fund is invested in GOVERNMENT BONDS, to a system where some of the money is invested in the STOCK MARKET."
33 58 3 6

.

"Gradually RAISING the age when a person can collect full Social Security benefits to age 70."
21 76 1 2

.

"If Social Security changes into a system where individuals could choose to invest some of their own payroll tax contributions themselves, do you think this change would increase, decrease or have no impact on your retirement savings benefits?"
%
Increase 41
Decrease 16
Have no impact on 31
Don't know 12

 

CBS News Poll. Aug. 28-31, 2001. N=850 adults nationwide. MoE 3.
             
"If you were permitted to invest some of your Social Security taxes in the stock market, how likely would you be to do so: would you be very likely to invest your Social Security taxes in the market, somewhat likely, not very likely, or not at all likely to do so?"
    %        
  Very likely 19        
  Somewhat likely 23        
  Not very likely 19        
  Not at all likely 37        
  Don't know 2        

 

Bloomberg News Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. July 31-Aug. 5, 2001. N=1,206 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"President Bush says he favors changing Social Security to allow workers to set aside two percentage points of their payroll taxes to invest in stocks or bonds. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?"
8/01 5/01 1/01
% % %
Favor 60 54 62
Oppose 30 35 33
Neither/Don't care (vol.) 5 4 -
Don't know/Refused 5 7 6

 

Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. June 22-23, 2000. N=750 adults nationwide, including 620 registered voters.

.

ALL 18-29 30-49 50-64 65 &
Older
% % % % %
"Do you think the Social Security system will have the money available to provide the benefits you expect for your retirement?"
Yes 38 38 28 50 47
No 48 57 67 35 11
Already get benefits (vol.) 7 0 1 4 31
Don't know 7 5 4 11 11

.

"Do you have more confidence in the Republican Party or the Democratic Party to deal with problems in the Social Security system?"
Republican Party 34 31 37 41 27
Democratic Party 38 39 36 38 42
Same/No difference (vol.) 4 2 3 5 6
Neither (vol.) 13 15 14 10 13
Don't know 11 13 10 6 12

.

"Considering the kinds of changes to Social Security you believe might be needed to keep the system financially sound in the future, do you think the political system will be able to make these necessary changes OR that too many special interests will stand in the way of necessary changes?"
Will be able to make changes 27
Will not 62
Don't know 11

.

Asked of registered voters: "As you may know, the presidential candidates have made some proposals to change or supplement Social Security to help Americans save more money for their retirement. One of these proposals would change Social Security to allow workers to invest some of their Social Security payroll taxes in the stock market. In general, do you favor or oppose this proposal?"
Favor 51 62 58 52 29
Oppose 36 33 30 34 49
Don't know 13 5 12 14 22

.

Asked of registered voters: "Another proposal would create a supplemental savings program that would allow workers to put up to $2,000 a year of tax-deductible savings in retirement accounts OUTSIDE the Social Security system. The government would offer matching funds based on income level. In general, do you favor or oppose this proposal?"
Favor 67 75 78 64 43
Oppose 20 20 13 22 32
Don't know 13 5 9 14 25

.

"Some people have suggested investing some of the Social Security trust fund in the stock market, which might make more money for the fund, but would involve greater risk. Do you think investing some of the Social Security trust fund in the stock market is a good idea or bad idea?"
Good idea 30
Bad idea 60
Don't know 10

.

"Some people have suggested allowing individuals to invest portions of their Social Security taxes on their own, which might allow them to make more money for their retirement, but would involve greater risk. Do you think allowing individuals to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes on their own is a good idea or bad idea?"
Good idea 55
Bad idea 36
Don't know 9

.

"If people who choose to invest their Social Security taxes in the stock market lose their money, should it be the government's responsibility to make up the losses, or should this not be the government's responsibility?"
Should be 15
Should not be 81
Don't know 4

 

ABC News/Washington Post Poll. May 7-10, 2000. N=1,068 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"How important will protecting the Social Security system be to you in deciding how to vote in the 2000 presidential election in November: very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not important at all?"

%
Very important 71
Somewhat important 21
Not too important 4
Not important at all 4
No opinion 1

.

"There's a plan in which people could invest some of their Social Security contributions in the stock market. When they retire, their benefits could either be higher or lower, depending on the stock market's performance. Would you support or oppose this plan in which people who chose to do so could invest some of their Social Security contributions in the stock market?" Split sample (Form B)

%
Support 61
Oppose 34
No opinion 5

 

Gallup/CNN/USA Today Poll. Oct. 8-10, 1999. N=976 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"Who do you trust more to act responsibly with the government funds set aside for Social Security benefits: [rotate] the Republicans in Congress or President Clinton?"
%
President Clinton 50
Republicans in Congress 41
Neither (vol.) 6
No opinion 3

 

Gallup/CNN/USA Today Poll. June 25-27, 1999. N=1,016 adults nationwide.

.

"Who do you have more confidence in when it comes to handling the following issues: President Clinton or the Republicans in Congress? Social Security."
Clinton Repub-
licans
Both
(vol.)
Neither
(vol.)
No
Opinion
% % % % %
6/25-27/99 50 42 1 4 3
2/19-21/99 56 35 1 4 4

.

"Which of the following statements best represents how you feel about Social Security? (1) It needs to be completely overhauled. (2) It needs major changes. (3) It needs minor changes. OR, (4) It is basically fine the way it is."
%

.

Completely overhauled 21
Major changes 37
Minor changes 28
Fine the way it is 13
No opinion 1

 

CBS News Poll. May 11, 1999. N=578 adults nationwide, including 408 who are currently employed.

.

"Do you think the Social Security system will have the money available to provide the benefits you expect for your retirement?"
ALL Currently
Employed
% %
Yes 29 25
No 55 64
Already retired (vol.) 8 1
Don't know 8 10

.

"Do you have an employer-sponsored pension plan?"
ALL Currently
Employed
% %
Yes 53 60
No 46 39
Don't know 1 1

.

Asked of those with an employer-sponsored pension plan (N=318):
"Do you think your employer-sponsored pension plan will have the money available to provide the benefits you expect for your retirement?"
ALL With
Pension
Plan
Currently
Employed,
With Pension
Plan
% %
Yes 73 73
No 18 20
Don't know 9 7

 

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Robert Teeter (R). March 4-7, 1999. N=2,012 adults nationwide.

.

"In retirement, what proportion of your retirement income do you receive or expect to receive from Social Security: all of your retirement income, most of your retirement income with some coming from other sources, about half of your retirement income, less than half of your retirement income with most coming from other sources, or very little of your retirement income?"
%
All 9
Most 16
About half 21
Less than half 25
Very little 25
Not sure 4

.

This question asked of non-retired people:
"How confident are you that Social Security still will be providing retirement benefits when you reach retirement age? Would you say that you are completely confident, very confident, just somewhat confident, or not confident at all?"
3/99 12/98
% %
Completely confident 8 12
Very confident 11 10
Just somewhat confident 35 31
Not confident at all 45 43
Not sure 1 4

.

This question asked of non-retired people:
"When you reach retirement age, do you think Social Security will be paying the same level of benefits as it pays now, paying less than now, or will it not be paying benefits at all?"
3/99 3/95
% %
Same as now 28 17
Less than now 46 43
None at all 23 33
Not sure 3 7

.

"In order to preserve the Social Security system, do you think that the federal government should offer special incentives to get people to work longer and retire later?"
3/99 1/98
% %
Yes 45 55
No 49 37
Not sure 6 8

.

Asked of half the sample (Form B):
"Do you think that people should or should not be required to pay Social Security taxes and be part of the system?"
%
Should be required 70
Should not be 26
Not sure 4

.

Asked of half the sample (Form A):
"Do you think that all Americans who have paid Social Security payroll taxes should receive the same amount of benefits in their retirement, or should benefits depend on financial need?"
%
Same benefits 54
Depend on need 40
Not sure 6

.

Asked of half the sample (Form B):
"President Clinton has made a Social Security proposal, which includes transferring more than sixty percent of the budget surplus to Social Security, and allowing the federal government to invest part of the Social Security surplus in the stock market to generate higher returns. Do you favor or oppose President Clinton's proposal to help ensure the financial stability of Social Security?"
%
Favor 47
Oppose 44
Not sure 9

.

Asked of half the sample (Form A):
"President Clinton has proposed that future Social Security benefits be paid out of general tax revenues, rather than relying only on workers' payroll taxes, as is done now. Do you favor or oppose President Clinton's proposal?"
%
Favor 46
Oppose 39
Not sure 15

.

Asked of half the sample (Form B):
"Which one of the following do you think should be the most important goal when it comes to reforming the Social Security system:
[see below]?'
%
"Give people more personal control over their Social Security savings" 31
"Assure the long-term stability of the Social Security system" 30
"Reduce poverty among the elderly" 18
"Pay retirees the benefits they are owed" 15
None/Other (vol.) 2
Not sure 4

.

Asked of half the sample (Form B):
"In order to deal with the shortfall in Social Security funds, would you prefer raising the Social Security payroll tax rate, reducing benefits for all recipients, or a combination of the two?"
%
Raising tax rate 20
Reducing benefits 5
Combination 56
Not sure 19

.

Asked of half the sample (Form B):
"If the federal government were to reduce Social Security benefits, which one of the following methods would you prefer: a cut in the cost-of-living adjustment, increasing taxes on benefits, or raising the retirement age?"
%
Cut in COLA 30

.

Increasing taxes 18
Raising retirement age 35
None/Other (vol.) 11
Not sure 6

.

Asked of half the sample (Form B):
"If people were allowed to put a portion of their Social Security taxes in individual retirement accounts that could be invested in the stock market, which one of the following options would you prefer? (A) A system in which people could choose from a limited number of government-approved funds. OR, (B) A system in which people could invest in any stock or fund that they choose."
%
A. Government-approved 25
B. Any stock or fund 67
Neither (vol.) 5
Not sure 3

.

Asked of half the sample (Form A):
"Some people think that a portion of the Social Security trust fund should be invested in the stock market to take advantage of the higher return that the market offers over the long run and to prevent Congress from spending the money. Others oppose investing a portion of the Social Security trust fund in the stock market because it would throw the market off balance and give the federal government too much ownership of private companies in the United States. Which position do you agree with more?"
%
Should be invested in stock market 28
Should not 64
Neither (vol.) 3
Not sure 5

 

CNN/Time Poll conducted by Yankelovich Partners. Jan. 20-21, 1999. N=1,024 adults nationwide.

.

ALL Rep. Ind. Dem.
% % % %
"Do you think next year's federal budget surplus -- where the government takes in more money than it spends -- should all be set aside to strengthen Social Security, mostly be set aside for Social Security, mostly be used to lower taxes, or all be used to lower taxes?"
All for Social Security 18 14 18 19
Most for Social Security 43 37 45 47
Most to lower taxes 19 26 19 13
All to lower taxes 13 15 12 11
Not sure 8 8 5 10

.

"Thinking about Social Security, do you favor or oppose allowing the federal government to invest a portion of the Social Security trust fund in the U.S. stock market?"
Favor 33 30 32 37
Oppose 57 60 61 51
Not sure 10 10 7 12

 


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