March 9, 2005 - Gen Xers, Seniors Split On Privatizing Social Security, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; All Voters Say 3-1, Raise The Payroll Cap
Generation X voters disagree with their senior citizen grandparents on the issue of "privatizing" Social Security. Voters under 40 years old support private retirement accounts 59 - 35 percent, while voters over 65 oppose it 55 - 34 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

Baby Boomers (41 - 59 years old), narrowly support, 49 - 45 percent, diverting some Social Security payments to private accounts, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN- uh-pe-ack) University poll finds, and all voters support privatization 49 - 44 percent.

American voters of every age group support 72 - 23 percent raising the $90,000 payroll cap on Social Security taxes to bring more money into the system. Young and old voters also agree in their opposition to other steps to improve Social Security:
  • 58 - 37 percent against raising Social Security taxes;
  • 65 - 31 percent against increasing the Social Security qualifying age. Opposition ranges from 53 percent among seniors to 71 percent among Gen Xers.
  • 81 - 16 percent oppose reducing Social Security benefits.
"Generation X voters and their grandparents take dramatically different views on Social Security: Senior Citizens, some of whom might have voted for FDR, don't like President George W. Bush's privatization plan, but Gen X voters are sold on it," said Maurice Carroll, Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"But all age groups say 'raise the cap,' so people making more than $90,000 per year pay more into Social Security," Carroll said. "Even voters making more than $100,000 support raising the cap 70 - 27 percent."

American voters disapprove 59 - 28 percent of the way President Bush is handling Social Security, leaving Bush with a 48 - 45 percent overall disapproval.

A total of 74 percent of Gen X voters say Social Security is in "crisis" or has "major problems," a sentiment shared by 73 percent of Baby Boomers and 53 percent of Seniors.

Only 29 percent of Gen X voters think Social Security will be able to pay a benefit when they retire, while 63 percent do not expect to collect a benefit. Among Baby Boomers, 51 percent expect benefits, while 38 percent do not. Among seniors, 86 percent expect a benefit, while 6 percent do not.

"Gen X voters are skeptical that the money will be there for them when they retire. But seniors, many of whom already are collecting Social Security, are confident the checks will keep rolling in," Carroll said. "Baby Boomers, of course, are in the middle, more evenly divided on this and other questions about Social Security."

From March 2 - 7, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,534 registered voters nationwide. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percentage points. The survey includes:
  • 477 Seniors with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points;
  • 627 Baby Boomers with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points;
  • 404 Gen X voters, with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 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
                        
Mar 9, 2005             45      48       7
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: 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?

                                Major   Minor   No
                        Crisis  Prob    Prob    Prob    DK/NA


Mar 9, 2005 15 53 26 3 3 Feb 2, 2005 17 50 27 3 2



TREND: (If 'not retired')Do you think the Social Security System will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?

                                        WON'T
                        Yes     No      COLL    DK/NA


Mar 9, 2005 42 49 1 8 Feb 2, 2005 42 49 - 8



TREND: (If 'retired')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?

                        Full    Cut     WON'T
                        Ben     Ben     COLL    DK/NA


Mar 9, 2005 62 25 1 12 Feb 2, 2005 56 34 - 10



TREND: Do you support or oppose raising Social Security Taxes to help bring more money into the Social Security System?

                        Supp    Opp     DK/NA


Mar 9, 2005 37 58 5 Feb 2, 2005 35 60 5



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

                        Supp    Opp     DK/NA


Mar 9, 2005 31 65 4 Feb 2, 2005 30 67 3



TREND: Do you support or oppose reducing Social Security Benefits to help bring more money into the Social Security System?

                        Supp    Opp     DK/NA


Mar 9, 2005 16 81 3 Feb 2, 2005 16 81 3



TREND: 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?

                        Supp    Opp     DK/NA
                        
Mar 9, 2005             72      23       5
Feb 2, 2005             69      27       4




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
                        
Mar 9, 2005             49      44       8
Feb 2, 2005             51      43       6
Mar 25, 2004            52      39      10




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

                                Con-
                        Comm    gress   DK/NA
                        
Mar 9, 2005             65      24      12
Feb 2, 2005             65      26       9




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 45% 87% 15% 38% 48% 42% Disapprove 48 8 78 53 45 51 DK/NA 7 5 7 9 6 7

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working Approve 41% 49% 44% 44% 45% Disapprove 51 46 47 46 49 DK/NA 7 5 9 10 6



16. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W.Bush is handling Social Security?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom
                        
Approve                 28%     58%      9%     25%     35%     22%
Disapprove              59      23      85      62      55      62
DK/NA                   13      19       6      13      10      15


GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working Approve 29% 28% 28% 27% 29% Disapprove 57 62 58 58 59 DK/NA 14 10 14 15 12



17. 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 15% 14% 15% 14% 12% 17% Major problems 53 61 48 54 53 54 Minor problems 26 21 29 27 29 23 No problems 3 1 5 3 3 3 DK/NA 3 3 3 2 3 3

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

State of crisis 19% 16% 7% 7% 17% Major problems 55 57 46 46 56 Minor problems 23 23 35 35 23 No problems 2 2 6 6 2 DK/NA 2 1 6 6 2



18. Are you retired? IF NEEDED: Well, in general do you consider yourself retired or not?

                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom
                        
Yes                     24%     26%     25%     22%     22%     27%
No                      75      74      74      77      78      73
DK/NA                    -       -       1       -       -       1


GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Yes - 8% 85% No 99 91 14 DK/NA - - 1



18a. (If not retired Q18)Do you think the Social Security system will be able to pay you a benefit when you retire?

                        NOT RETIRED Q18............................
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes 42% 47% 40% 45% 46% 38% No 49 46 50 46 46 52 WILL NOT COLLECT(VOL) 1 1 - 2 1 1 DK/NA 8 6 9 7 7 9

GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+

Yes 29% 51% 86% No 63 38 6 WILL NOT COLLECT(VOL) 1 1 2 DK/NA 7 10 6



18b. (If retired Q18)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 Q18................................
                        Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes/Full benefits 62% 59% 61% 65% 68% 57% No/Cuts in benefits 25 27 21 26 23 26 WILL NOT COLLECT(VOL) 1 2 1 1 1 2 DK/NA 12 12 17 8 8 15



19. 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                 37%     31%     41%     36%     36%     37%
Oppose                  58      66      52      58      61      56
DK/NA                    5       3       6       6       3       7


GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working Support 36% 36% 39% 40% 36% Oppose 61 60 50 50 61 DK/NA 3 3 11 11 3



20. 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                 31%     37%     24%     34%     31%     31%
Oppose                  65      60      70      62      65      64
DK/NA                    4       3       6       3       3       5


GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working Support 27% 30% 39% 40% 28% Oppose 71 67 53 52 69 DK/NA 2 3 8 9 3



21. 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%     20%     15%     13%     17%     15%
Oppose                  81      77      82      84      81      81
DK/NA                    3       3       4       3       2       5


GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working Support 20% 15% 11% 13% 17% Oppose 78 83 82 81 81 DK/NA 2 2 6 6 2



22. 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 72% 71% 73% 74% 77% 67% Oppose 23 24 22 21 21 25 DK/NA 5 5 6 5 2 8

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

Support 74% 74% 69% 69% 73% Oppose 23 23 19 19 24 DK/NA 3 3 12 12 3

ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...... <30K 30-50 50-100 >100K Support 67% 75% 79% 70% Oppose 26 21 17 27 DK/NA 7 4 3 3



23. 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                 49%     68%     34%     47%     54%     45%
Oppose                  44      26      56      47      42      45
DK/NA                    8       5      10       6       4      11


GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working Support 59% 49% 34% 34% 54% Oppose 35 45 55 56 40 DK/NA 6 6 11 11 6

ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME...... <30K 30-50 50-100 >100K Support 36% 54% 55% 65% Oppose 55 42 38 33 DK/NA 9 4 7 2



24. 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%     68%     59%     68%     65%     64%
Congress                24      21      29      21      25      23
DK/NA                   12      11      12      11      10      14


GenX BbyBmrs Seniors 18-40 41-59 60+ Retired Working Non-partisan commission 60% 71% 63% 62% 66% Congress 30 19 21 22 24 DK/NA 10 10 16 17 10