In Depth: Topics A to Z

Social Security

Trend: When You Retire, How Much Do You Expect to Rely on Social Security?

Trend: When You Retire, How Much Do You Expect to Rely on Social Security?

Trend: How much do you rely on Social Security today? (Among retirees)

Trend: Next, I’m going to read a list of problems facing the country. For each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all? First, how much do you personally worry about the Social Security system?

Trend: Next, we’d like to know how you feel about the state of the nation in each of the following areas. For each one, please say whether you are -- very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied. If you don’t have enough information about a particular subject to rate it, just say so. How about the Social Security and Medicare systems?

Trend: Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire (based on nonretirees)?

Trend: 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?

Trend: 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?

If you had to choose one of the following approaches to ensuring Social Security's long-term future, would you rather -- [ROTATED: raise Social Security taxes (or) curb the amount of benefits for future Social Security recipients]?


How long do you think it will be until the costs of the Medicare and Social Security programs create a crisis for the federal government -- are they already creating a crisis, will they create a crisis within the next 10 years, within 10 to 20 years, in more than 20 years, or not for the foreseeable future?

Already
creating
crisis

Within
10 years

Within
10-20
years

More
than
20 years

Not for
foresee-
able
future

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

2011 Apr 20-23

34

33

19

4

7

2

Now I'd like to ask you about the major entitlement programs the government is committed to, including Social Security and Medicare. Do you think the cost of these programs will create major economic problems for the U.S. in the next 25 years if no changes are made to them, or not?

Yes, will create
problems

No, will not

No opinion

%

%

%

2010 Nov 19-21

75

22

3

2010 Sep 13-16

77

18

4

(Asked of those who think entitlement problems will create economic problems) Which of the following would you favor as a way to address economic problems created by major entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare -- [ROTATED: Cutting back on benefits the government provides future retirees and not increasing taxes, increasing taxes and not cutting back on benefits the government provides future retirees,] or a combination of both benefit cuts and tax increases?

BASED ON WHO THINK ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS WILL CREATE PROBLEMS IN THE ECONOMY

Cut benefits,
not raise taxes

Raise taxes,
not cut
benefits

Combination
of tax increases
and benefit cuts

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

2010 Nov 19-21

19

30

46

6

If the cost of major entitlement programs does create major economic problems for the U.S., do you think the government should or should not do each of the following to deal with the situation? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

A. Raise taxes

Yes, should

No, should not

No opinion

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

42

56

2

B. Cut benefits

Yes, should

No, should not

No opinion

%

%

%

2010 Sep 13-16

42

56

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 -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

A. Increasing the age at which people are eligible to receive full retirement benefits

Good idea

Bad idea

No opinion

2010 Jul 8-11

35%

63

1

2005 Feb 4-6 ^

35%

63

2

^ WORDING: Increasing the age at which people are eligible to receive full benefits

B. Limiting benefits for wealthy retirees

Good idea

Bad idea

No opinion

2010 Jul 8-11

63%

35

2

2005 Feb 4-6

68%

29

3

C. Further reducing the total amount of benefits a person would receive if they retired early

Good idea

Bad idea

No opinion

2010 Jul 8-11

44%

53

3

2005 Feb 4-6

40%

57

3

D. Increasing Social Security taxes for all workers

Good idea

Bad idea

No opinion

2010 Jul 8-11

34%

64

2

2005 Feb 4-6

37%

60

3

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

Good idea

Bad idea

No opinion

2010 Jul 8-11

67%

30

3

2005 Feb 4-6

67%

30

3

F. Reducing retirement benefits for people who are currently under age 55

Good idea

Bad idea

No opinion

2010 Jul 8-11

39%

57

4

2005 Feb 4-6

29%

67

4

How much planning would you say you've done for your retirement-enough planning considering your present age, some but not enough planning considering your present age, or no planning at all?

BASED ON NON-RETIRED ADULTS

Enough
planning

Some, but
not enough

No planning
at all

No
opinion

2005 Nov 11-13

32%

52

15

1

2005 Feb 4-6

32%

53

14

1

Based on what you have heard or read, in general, do you approve or disapprove of George W. Bush's approach to addressing the Social Security system?

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

2005 Jul 22-24

29%

62

9

2005 Mar 18-20

40%

53

7

2005 Feb 4-6

44%

50

6

As you may know, a proposal has been made that would allow workers to invest part of their Social Security taxes in the stock market or in bonds, while the rest of those taxes would remain in the Social Security system. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

%

%

%

2005 Jun 24-26

44

53

3

2005 Apr 29-May 1

44

52

4

2005 Apr 1-2 ^

39

56

5

2005 Mar 18-20 ^

45

47

8

2004 Dec 17-19 ^

48

48

4

^ Asked of a half sample

Who do you trust more to deal with the issue of Social Security retirement benefits -- [ROTATED: the Democratic Party (or) the Republican Party]?


Democratic
Party


Republican
Party

Both
equally (vol.)


Neither
(vol.)


No
opinion

2005 Jun 24-26

47%

34

3

13

3

2005 Apr 29-May 1

46%

36

3

12

3

2005 Feb 25-27

47%

37

2

9

5

Do you think -- [ROTATED: George W. Bush/the Democrats in Congress/the Republicans in Congress] -- has/have proposed a clear plan for addressing the Social Security system, has/have proposed a plan, but one that is not clear to you, or has/have not proposed a specific plan for addressing the Social Security system?


2005 Jun 24-26
(sorted by "proposed clear plan")



Proposed
clear plan

Proposed
plan, but
it is
not clear

Have not proposed
specific
plan



No
opinion

George W. Bush

25%

42

28

5

The Republicans in Congress

15%

42

36

7

The Democrats in Congress

11%

36

45

8

Do you think the federal government should make major changes in the Social Security system to ensure its long-term future -- in the next year or two, within the next ten years, or do you think major changes are not needed within the next ten years?

In the next
year or two

Within the
next ten years

Changes
not needed

No
opinion

2005 Apr 29-May 1

45%

36

16

3

2005 Feb 25-27 ^

38%

37

22

3

2005 Jan 7-9

49%

39

9

3

^ Asked of a half sample

As you may know, a proposal has been made that would curb Social Security benefits for middle income workers in the future, curb them even more for higher income workers, but would not affect benefits for lower income workers and those born before 1950. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

2005 Apr 29-May 1

38%

54

8

If you had to choose, which of the following do you think would be best for you in the long run -- [ROTATED: Congress passes a Social Security reform plan this year that most Republicans support, (or) Congress passes a Social Security reform plan this year that most Democrats support], or Congress does not pass a plan this year?

Pass
plan most
Republicans support

Pass
plan most Democrats
support


Do not
pass plan
this year



No
opinion

2005 Apr 29-May 1

27%

22

46

5

Do you think it is possible to ensure the long-term future of the Social Security system without either raising YOUR taxes or cutting YOUR Social Security benefits, or is that not possible?

Yes, possible

No, not possible

No opinion

2005 Apr 29-May 1

35%

62

3

Based on what you have heard or read, do you think the proposals for Social Security made by George W. Bush would -- [ROTATED: cut the amount of Social Security benefits you, personally, will receive, (or) protect the amount of Social Security benefits you, personally, will receive]?

Cut benefits

Protect benefits

No opinion

2005 Apr 29-May 1

53%

38

9

How worried are you that the Republicans will go too far in changing the Social Security system -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not at all worried?

Very worried

Somewhat worried

Not too
worried

Not at all worried

No
opinion

2005 Apr 29-May 1

28%

34

21

15

2

How worried are you that the Democrats will not go far enough to change the Social Security system -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not at all worried?

Very worried

Somewhat worried

Not too
worried

Not at all worried

No
opinion

2005 Apr 29-May 1

22%

39

26

11

2

Just your best guess, if you had to choose, do you think the Democrats are -- [ROTATED: mainly trying to use the Social Security issue to hurt the Republican Party in the next elections, (or are they) mainly trying to ensure the long-term stability of the Social Security system]?



Trying to
use issue
to hurt
Republicans

Trying to
ensure
long-term
stability of
Social Security




No
opinion

2005 Apr 29-May 1

46%

49

5

Just your best guess, if you had to choose, do you think George W. Bush is -- [ROTATED: trying to ensure the long-term stability of the Social Security system, (or is he) trying to dismantle the Social Security system]?

Trying to
ensure
long-term
stability of
Social Security


Trying to
dismantle
Social Security



No
opinion

2005 Apr 29-May 1

55%

41

4

2005 Apr 1-2

50%

46

4


As you may know, one idea to address concerns with the Social Security system would allow people who retire in future decades to invest some of their Social Security taxes in the stock market and bonds, but would reduce the guaranteed benefits they get when they retire. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?

ASKED OF A HALF SAMPLE

Good idea

Bad idea

No opinion

%

%

%

2005 Apr 1-2

33

61

6

2005 Mar 18-20

33

59

8

2005 Feb 7-10

36

60

4

2005 Feb 4-6

40

55

5

2005 Jan 7-9

40

55

5

Do you think political leaders in this country are -- [ROTATED: moving too slowly, (or) moving at an appropriate pace] -- in taking up legislation to change the Social Security system?


Moving
too slowly

Moving at
appropriate
pace

Moving
too fast
(vol.)


No
opinion

2005 Apr 1-2

61%

29

7

3

Who do you think is mostly to blame for this -- [ROTATED: George W. Bush and the Republicans in Congress, (or) the Democrats in Congress]?

BASED ON ADULTS WHO SAY POLITICAL LEADERS ARE MOVING TOO SLOWLY IN TAKING UP LEGISLATION TO CHANGE THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM

Bush and Republicans
in Congress


Democrats
in Congress


Both
(vol.)


Neither (vol.)


No
opinion

2005 Apr 1-2

40%

32

17

4

7

Would you say you understand the current debate over the future of the Social Security system very well, somewhat well, not too well, or not at all?


Very
well

Some-
what
well


Not too well

Not at all


No
opinion

2005 Mar 18-20

31%

50

13

5

1

Do you think it is -- or is not -- necessary for Congress and the president to pass legislation this year to make changes to the Social Security system?

Yes, is

No, is not

No opinion

2005 Mar 7-10

51%

46

3

Suppose Congress and the president do pass legislation to make changes to the Social Security system this year. Do you think that legislation should -- or should not -- include a provision that would allow people who retire in future decades to invest some of their Social Security taxes in the stock market and bonds?

Yes, should

No, should not

No opinion

2005 Mar 7-10

58%

37

5

Which do you think is riskier for average American workers today -- [ROTATED: 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]?

BASED ON 482 NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM B



Investing in
stocks and bonds

Relying on the
system to pay
current level of benefits



No
opinion

2005 Feb 25-27

46%

50

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?

Yes, will

No, will not

No opinion

2005 Feb 4-6

64%

30

6

How well do you understand the details you have heard or read so far about the debate over Social Security reform in this country? Would you say you understand -- most of those details, many of them, a few of them, or none of them at all?


Most


Many


A few


None

No opinion

2005 Feb 4-6

34%

32

30

3

1

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 -- [ROTATED: higher Social Security benefits than the government would provide, about the same benefits, or lower Social Security benefits than the government would provide]?


Higher

About the same


Lower


No opinion

2005 Feb 4-6

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 -- [ROTATED: higher Social Security benefits than the government would provide, about the same benefits, or lower Social Security benefits than the government would provide]?


Higher

About the same


Lower


No opinion

2005 Feb 4-6

40%

29

27

4

Are you, or is your spouse, currently collecting Social Security retirement benefits, or not?

Yes, are

No, are not

No opinion

2005 Feb 4-6

25%

75

*

How much do you currently rely on Social Security -- [ROTATED: as your main source of income, as a minor source of income, or not at all]?

BASED ON RETIRED ADULTS

Main source
of income

Minor source
of income



Not at all


No
opinion

2005 Jan 7-9

44%

40

14

2

Get Articles in Related Topics:


Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/1693/social-security.aspx
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030