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Half of Americans Say Government Workers Get Better Benefits Than Private Sector Workers

Earlier this year as the debate over public sector pay and benefits raged in Wisconsin and elsewhere, USA Today reported: "Wisconsin is one of 41 states where public employees earn higher average pay and benefits than private workers in the same state." The Reason-Rupe poll:

Question: "On average, do you think public sector employees have better benefits, the same benefits, or poorer benefits than those with similar jobs in the private sector?"


Better Benefits 50.2%
Same Benefits 17.0%
Poorer Benefits 14.2%
Don't Know/ No Response 18.7%

Reason-Rupe Public Sector Benefits

So just over half of Americans think government workers get better benefits than people working similar jobs in the private sector. Sixty-six percent of Republicans say public sector employees receive better benefits than those in the private sector, while just 44 percent of independents and 40 percent believe that to be true.

 Reason-Rupe Poll Public Sector Benefits

There is also a large difference among a few demographic groups: barely a third of African-Americans and Latinos think public sector employees receive better benifets but well over half of all Asian and whites say public workers benefits are better.


Young Americans are the least likely to say government worker benefits top the private sector's. A majority of voters over the age of 45 say the public sector receives better benefits. 


And the more money someone makes the more likely they are to believe public sector workers enjoy better pay and benefits. Just 37 percent of those making less than $25,000 a year say government workers receive better benefits but that number steadily rises to 68 percent among those making over $200,000 a year.

The full Reason-Rupe poll (pdf) and the crosstabs (pdf). 

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  • Ragnar||

    And? Where's the analysis? Do government employees get more pay and benefits than private sector workers?

    The article begs the question. Who taught you to write?

  • wef||

    Who cares if they do or not? You are such a conservative religious type. In politics, as any sophisticated person knows, perception is reality. You probably watch Fox and believe money should be backed by gold.

  • Tom||

    I completely agree with Ragnar as I read the entire article waiting to see the "truth"!

  • ||

    I too was hoping for the perception vs. reality chart. Kind of a let down.

  • ||

    I'm not sure what Wef's issue is, projecting all that leftist spew onto Ragnar, suppose he's a troll, Anyhow I was a little miffed as well, but I suppose they were not worried about if government workers get better pay and or benefits, which from what I have learned is the case, most government workers have it as good as most unionized workers in the privet sector, and most unionized government workers have it the very best. At a glance it may not look like it but once you look over their full benefits health, medical, retirement, and so on you began to see how well they have it, and why they do not want their pay and benefits messed with in any way...

  • Bob||

    Where is pay actually surveyed? All of the polls referred to benefits. Often in professional roles, government workers take a cut in pay, for better benefits such as a retirement package.

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  • ||

    I would also like to see some sample job to job comparisons, I suspect the "more" professional the position, the relatively worse the public sector employee. Senior public sector directors probably get hosed compared to private sector counterparts, while public sector janitors have it made.

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