Differences on Social Security Reform


The recent Reason-Rupe poll asked respondents if they would support or oppose reducing Social Security taxes and allow individuals to invest in their own retirement instead. 

For the following proposal, please tell me whether you would strongly support, somewhat support, neither support nor oppose, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose this proposal: "Reducing Social Security taxes and allowing individuals to invest in their own retirement instead?"

Strongly Support 25
Somewhat Support 16
Neither 10
Somewhat Oppose 13
Strongly Oppose 32
Don't Know 4
Total 100

Support significantly varies across demographic and household characteristics.  As detailed in an earlier blog post, more Americans aged 54 and younger favor reducing Social Security taxes and allowing individuals to invest in their own retirement instead. In stark contrast, Americans 55 years and older oppose such measures roughly 60% to 30%.

Support for this reform divides college graduates, those with some college education, and high school graduates. However, a majority of those without high school diplomas (52%) and those with post-graduate degrees (53%) oppose this reform. Little difference exists across income groups, except among those making less than $25,000 a year with 52% opposed and 35% in favor.

Significant differences emerge across racial/ethnic groups on reducing Social Security taxes. A plurality of Caucasians (44%) and Asians (44%) favor this measure. However, a majority of African-Americans  (59%) and Latinos (52%) oppose this reform.

Women are also less likely to support this proposal, whereas men are evenly divided with slightly more in favor.

Significant differences emerge across the political landscape, with 57% of self-identified libertarians in support of this reform, and 58% of progressives opposed to it. 50% of conservatives support the reform in contrast to the 51% of moderates and 52% of liberals who oppose it. Partisanship reveals that 64% of Tea Party supporters favor this proposal, as does 50% of non-Tea Party Republicans. In contrast, a majority (58%) of Democrats, and a plurality (46%) of pure Independents oppose this proposal. This is especially interesting because although the Tea Party tends to be older, they are the most likely group to favor this proposal—even more than regular Republicans.

Note: Ideological groups self-identified.

Note: Tea Party supporters reported they were "very favorable" to the Tea Party movement. Non-TP Republicans self-identified as Republican and were not Tea Party supporters. Independents only included Independents who did not lean Republican or Democratic. Democrats self-identified as such.

A majority of union households oppose this proposal (53%), whereas non-union households slightly favor reform. Further blogs will explore the differences between union and non-union households.

Note: "Neither", "Don't Know", and "Other" responses were omitted for this blog post. "Total" refers to the topline results from the 1200 respondents. 

Full Reason-Rupe Q1 2011 Poll Results