What Do Americans Think about Social Security?

For some years now, the various public opinion polls have been asking Americans what they think about social security.

Here is a summary of the answers given:

  1. The majority of Americans accept the general idea of social security.
  2. Criticism mostly centers around the coverage of the program, its scope, and its operation.
  3. A larger percentage of Americans with low incomes approve our social security system than Americans with high incomes.
  4. Answers in many cases depend on the way the question is worded. In other words, American opinion on social security is still fluid enough to be easily molded one way or another. For instance, when the amount received by an insured person is described in a question as a “dole,” approval of social security is less than when the question states directly that workers themselves contribute to social security funds.
  5. Americans don’t consider even the best social security system a substitute for a job.