February 2, 2005 - Young, Old U.S. Voters Split On Social Security, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; All Agree Rich Should Pay More To Fix System
Young and old American voters differ dramatically over president George W. Bush's plan to "privatize" Social Security: Generation X voters say 61 - 35 percent that individuals should be allowed to invest some Social Security payments in stock markets; Baby Boomers support private investment 53 - 43 percent and Senior voters oppose it 56 - 34 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

Only 29 percent of Gen X voters (under 40) expect Social Security benefits to be there for them when they retire, but 51 percent of Boomers (41 - 59 years old) and 85 percent of Seniors (over 60) expect to get benefits, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN- uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

All American voters agree 69 - 27 percent that the $90,000 annual income cap on Social Security taxes should be raised to bring more money into the system. Young and old voters also agree in their opposition to other steps to improve Social Security:
  • 60 - 35 percent oppose raising Social Security taxes;
  • 67 - 30 percent are against increasing the Social Security qualifying age;
  • 81 - 16 percent oppose reducing Social Security benefits.
"The Social Security Generation Gap shows younger voters have lost confidence in the system and want to build at least some of their nest egg on their own, while older voters, many of whom already are collecting benefits, don't want to change the system," said Maurice Carroll, Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Generation X voters, Baby Boomers and Seniors all agree by large margins that Social Security taxes should be collected on more dollars. Even high earners, who would get hit in the wallet, support raising the cap," Carroll said.

Social Security is in a state of crisis, 17 percent of all U.S. voters say, while 50 percent say it has major problems and 27 percent say it has minor problems. Baby Boomers are the most concerned, with 75 percent saying "crisis" or "major problems," compared to 69 percent of Gen X voters and 55 percent of Seniors.

By a 58 - 39 percent margin, Gen X voters would invest a portion of Social Security taxes in stocks, if they could, while Baby Boomers split 48 - 50 percent.

"No matter what age, just about everyone has bought President George W. Bush's argument that Social Security is in trouble," Carroll said. "Younger voters say 2 - 1 that Social Security will not be there when they need it. Of course, these are the voters who most want a chance to get into the stock market.

"While President Bush has not fully explained his Social Security proposal yet, 56 percent of all voters say they understand it at least 'somewhat well.'"

By a 65 - 26 percent margin, American voters want a non-partisan commission, not the U.S. Congress, to reform Social Security.

American voters approve 48 - 45 percent of the job President Bush is doing, compared to a 47 - 46 split in a December 16, 2004, Quinnipiac University poll.

From January 25 - 31, Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,100 registered voters nationwide. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.1 percentage points. The survey includes:
  • 652 Seniors with a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points;
  • 852 Baby Boomers with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points;
  • 545 Gen X voters, with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points;
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida and nationwide as a public service and for research.

For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu or call (203) 582-5201

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as President?

                        App     Dis     DK/NA
                        
Feb 2, 2005             48      45       7
Dec 16, 2004            47      48       5
Jul 24, 2004            46      46       8
May 26, 2004            45      50       5
May 5, 2004             46      47       7
Mar 24, 2004            49      44       7
Feb 2, 2004             48      45       7
Jan 26, 2004            53      40       8
Dec 10, 2003            51      43       6
Oct 29, 2003            51      42       7
Sep 17,2003             53      39       7
Jul 24, 2003            53      41       6
Jun 11, 2003            57      35       8
Apr 16, 2003            73      22       5
Mar 6, 2003             53      39       8
Feb 4, 2003             54      39       7
Nov 13, 2002            62      30       8
Feb 22, 2002            76      16       8
Dec 11, 2001            83      11       6




TREND: Do you support or oppose allowing individuals to invest a portion of their social security taxes in the stock market?

                        Supp   Opp    DK/NA
                        
Feb 2, 2005             51     43      6
Mar 25, 2004            52     39     10




1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as President?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 48% 87% 15% 46% 52% 44% Disapprove 45% 9% 77% 45% 41% 48% DK/NA 7% 4% 8% 9% 7% 8%

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working

Approve 49% 48% 43% 43% 50% Disapprove 44 44 47 46 44 DK/NA 7 7 9 11 6



15. 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?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


State of crisis 17% 13% 21% 18% 16% 18% Major problems 50 57 43 51 50 50 Minor problems 27 26 30 27 29 26 No problems 3 2 5 2 3 3 DK/NA 2 2 2 2 3 2

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working

State of crisis 17% 22% 11% 12% 18% Major problems 52 53 44 44 52 Minor problems 27 21 36 34 25 No problems 2 3 5 6 2 DK/NA 3 1 3 3 2



16. Are you retired?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes 24% 21% 29% 22% 23% 25% No 75 79 70 77 76 74 DK/NA 1 - 1 1 1 1

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+

Yes 1% 11% 80% No 99 88 20 DK/NA - 1 1



17. (If 'not retired' q16)At what age do you plan on retiring?

                        NOT RETIRED Q16............................
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


<50 2% 2% 2% 3% 4% 1% 50-59 16 17 16 15 19 14 60-64 20 21 19 19 22 17 65 27 29 26 28 26 29 66-69 5 5 5 5 4 6 70+ 11 8 13 11 8 13 DK/NA 19 18 19 19 17 22

Mean age to retire 62 62 63 61 61 63

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+

<50 4% 0% - 50-59 19 15 - 60-64 19 20 22 65 27 28 27 66-69 2 7 10 70+ 10 11 16 DK/NA 18 19 25

Mean age to retire 60 63 66



18. (If 'not retired' q16)Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?

                        NOT RETIRED Q16............................
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes 42% 48% 38% 42% 46% 39% No 49 44 50 53 46 52 DK/NA 8 8 12 5 8 9

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+

Yes 29% 51% 85% No 62 41 10 DK/NA 9 8 5



19. (If 'not retired' q16)When you retire, how much do you expect to rely on Social Security to meet your financial needs? A great deal, somewhat, or not at all?

                        NOT RETIRED Q16............................
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Great deal 14% 11% 18% 13% 11% 17% Somewhat 50 49 53 51 50 51 Not at all 34 39 27 36 38 31 DK/NA 1 1 2 - 2 1

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+

Great deal 12% 14% 25% Somewhat 42 58 63 Not at all 44 26 11 DK/NA 2 1 -



20. (If 'retired' q16)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?

                        RETIRED Q16................................
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes/Full benefits 56% 63% 50% 56% 56% 56% No/Cuts in benefits 34 28 42 31 34 34 DK/NA 10 9 8 12 10 10

BbyBmrs Seniors 41-59 60+

Yes/Full benefits 34% 60% No/Cuts in benefits 58 30 DK/NA 8 10



21. (If 'retired' q16)How much are you relying on Social Security to meet your financial needs? A great deal, somewhat, or not at all?

                        RETIRED Q16................................


Tot Rep Dem Ind Men Wom

Great deal 45% 35% 54% 43% 41% 48% Somewhat 44 51 37 49 46 42 Not at all 10 13 9 8 12 9 DK/NA 1 - - 1 2 -

BbyBmrs Seniors 41-59 60+

Great deal 51% 45% Somewhat 27 46 Not at all 22 8 DK/NA - 1



22. Do you support or oppose -- Raising Social Security Taxes to help bring more money into the Social Security System?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 35% 29% 41% 36% 36% 35% Oppose 60 67 54 60 61 59 DK/NA 5 4 5 4 3 6

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working

Support 37% 35% 34% 36% 35% Oppose 60 62 57 54 62 DK/NA 3 4 9 10 3



23. Do you support or oppose -- Increasing the age to qualify for Social Security benefits to help bring more money into the Social Security System?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 30% 30% 30% 33% 30% 31% Oppose 67 66 67 66 69 65 DK/NA 3 4 3 1 1 4

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working

Support 30% 29% 34% 34% 29% Oppose 69 69 60 60 69 DK/NA 1 3 6 6 2



24. Do you support or oppose -- Reducing Social Security Benefits to help bring more money into the Social Security System?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 16% 17% 16% 18% 17% 16% Oppose 81 81 83 79 81 81 DK/NA 3 3 2 3 3 3

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working

Support 21% 15% 13% 14% 17% Oppose 78 82 84 82 81 DK/NA 1 3 3 5 2



25. 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?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 69% 66% 70% 75% 70% 68% Oppose 27 30 26 22 27 26 DK/NA 4 4 5 3 2 6

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working

Support 70% 71% 67% 68% 70% Oppose 28 24 27 26 27 DK/NA 2 5 6 6 4



26. Do you support or oppose allowing individuals to invest a portion of their social security taxes in the stock market?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Support 51% 64% 38% 53% 56% 47% Oppose 43 30 57 43 38 47 DK/NA 6 6 5 4 5 6

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working

Support 61% 53% 34% 34% 57% Oppose 35 43 56 57 39 DK/NA 4 4 10 9 4



27. (If 'not retired' q16)If you could, would you personally invest a portion of your social security taxes in the stock market?

                        NOT RETIRED Q16............................
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes 53% 62% 41% 54% 60% 47% No 45 34 57 45 39 50 DK/NA 2 4 2 1 1 3

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+

Yes 58% 48% 43% No 39 50 54 DK/NA 3 1 3



28. In general, how well do you understand President Bush's proposal to allow individuals to invest a portion of their social security taxes in the stock market -- very well, somewhat well, not too well, or not at all?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very well 15% 15% 14% 15% 20% 10% Somewhat well 41 49 35 44 40 42 Not too well 27 23 31 25 24 30 Not at all 15 11 19 15 15 16 DK/NA 1 2 1 1 1 1

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working

Very well 10% 17% 18% 22% 12% Somewhat well 44 43 34 33 44 Not too well 28 28 26 24 28 Not at all 17 11 18 17 14 DK/NA - 1 3 3 1



29. Who do you think should design a program to reform Social Security -- a non-partisan commission or Congress?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Non-partisan commission 65% 66% 62% 71% 68% 63% Congress 26 26 30 21 26 26 DK/NA 9 8 9 8 7 11

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working

Non-partisan commission 59% 72% 64% 63% 66% Congress 34 21 21 24 27 DK/NA 7 7 15 14 8



30. Which of these statements do you think best describes the Medicare system - it is in a state of crisis, it has major problems, it has minor problems, or it does not have any problems?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


State of crisis 12% 9% 15% 10% 12% 12% Major problems 52 53 52 51 51 52 Minor problems 29 31 25 31 31 27 No problems 2 2 3 2 2 3 DK/NA 5 5 5 6 4 7

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working

State of crisis 11% 15% 7% 8% 12% Major problems 49 56 50 51 52 Minor problems 34 22 33 32 28 No problems 1 2 5 5 2 DK/NA 6 5 5 4 6