Seventy-eight percent (78%) of voters believe Social Security is a retirement program that workers pay into during their working years and receive promised payments back during retirement. A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that just 22% see it as a government program that provides income to senior citizens.
That perception is one of the reasons Social Security is viewed favorably by 75% of American voters.
The belief that it’s an earned benefit is highlighted in other data as well. If someone reaches retirement age, is eligible to collect Social Security payments, and wants to keep working, 82% believe they should still be able to collect their Social Security benefits.
Sixty-three percent (63%) think workers should be allowed to pay more money into Social Security in exchange for higher benefits or an earlier retirement age. Just 13% oppose that idea which was first suggested by President Frankin Roosevelt in 1935. As a practical matter, tens of millions of Americans are doing something very similar today by investing in 401(k) plans and other private retirement programs.
Thirty-three percent (33%) also believe workers be allowed to pay less money into Social Security in exchange for a later retirement age. Forty-one percent (41%) are opposed.
Among voters under 35, 65% see Social Security as a retirement program that workers pay into during their working years and receive promised payments back during retirement. That figure rises to 88% among senior citizens (see crosstab results). That is precisely the way the program was sold to the American people in the 1930s and has remained a solid perception ever since.
We also provide daily updates on the president’s job approval and the generic congressional ballot. It’s all part of our mission to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us).
The national survey of 1,001 Registered Voters was conducted May 8-9, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).