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 bene?ts, the same bene?ts, or poorer bene?ts than those with similar jobs in the private sector?"


Better Bene?ts 50.2%
Same Bene?ts 17.0%
Poorer Bene?ts 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).