New NCPA Poll Finds Wide Support for Personal Retirement Accounts for Social Security

DALLAS (August 14, 2000) – On the sixty-fifth anniversary of the enactment of Social Security, a just released poll shows widespread support for using a portion of workers payroll tax dollars to create personal retirement accounts as part of Social Security reform.

The extensive nationwide poll of 600 registered voters conducted for the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) by Public Opinion Strategies, found that while Social Security is universally popular, Americans recognize that it faces long-term problems and needs reform. The findings were made public in a report released today by the NCPA. According to the report:

  • Social Security is by far one of the government's most popular programs, with 60 percent having a favorable opinion of it.
  • Still, a majority – 51 percent – say that Social Security needs "radical" (20 percent) or "major" (31 percent) change to ensure the program's fiscal health.

"This poll shows that Americans don't view personal accounts that they own and control as a risky alternative," said Matt Moore, policy analyst at the NCPA and the co-author of the report. "Rather, an overwhelming majority of all Americans are receptive to this type of reform."

The report notes that support for personal accounts is strong and widespread.

  • A tremendous 80 percent of voters favor a reform plan that allows them to invest a portion of their payroll taxes in a personal retirement account they can own and control.
  • If given a choice, 73 percent (60 percent strongly) would be willing to switch to the new system.
  • Personal accounts are popular with all racial groups, with 81 percent of whites, 77 percent of African Americans and 74 percent of other minorities favoring them.
  • Marital status also does not significantly diminish support levels, as 71 percent of voters who are divorced, separated or widowed favor personal accounts, and 81 percent of people who are married or single favor them.

For more information on Social Security or on what choice and control can mean to your retirement security, log on to the NCPA's Social Security calculator at