August 13th, 2010
06:00 AM ET
4 years ago

CNN poll: Majority say they don't count on Social Security

(CNN) - Pessimism over Social Security is at an all-time high as six in ten Americans who don't already receive benefits through the program say they never will, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

As the program nears its 70th anniversary of implementation, 63 percent of Americans say the program won't last another 70 years.

"There have always been a significant number of Americans who thought that Social Security would not be able to pay benefits to them when they retire," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "But since 1989, when Gallup first asked this question, that number usually hovered in the mid-40s and never rose higher than 52 percent. Today, 60 percent say they will never get a benefit from Social Security."

Only about four in ten of current retirees believe Social Security will always be able to pay their full benefits, according to the poll.

For the first time in nearly 30 years, Social Security will pay out more benefits than it receives in payroll taxes both this year and in 2011. By 2015, the program is expected regularly operate with an annual deficit.

The poll was conducted on August 6-10 and surveyed 1,009 Americans, including 935 registered voters. The sampling error varied-from 3 percent to 5.5 percent-by question. The full results of the poll, including the sampling error for each question, may be found here.


Filed under: Medicaid • Social Security
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. ramtruck2500

    Well the Repugs have done it again. First the economy, next social security who knows maybe next they can give us slavery back! just negative say it enough and all is for naught. after all they gave us worthless jobs countrywide by Adecco, Aligon, the devil or whatever there name is now.

    August 13, 2010 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  2. Bernard Webb

    I first had conservative colleagues tell me that SS would not be there for them in the early 70s. I see they're still at it. One right-winger I worked with spent every lunch hour complaining about how he would "never see a dime" of SS. This guy has been retired for 10 years or more now and has been collecting SS the whole time, as he will continue to do.

    Meanwhile, other conservatives tell us that global warming is a "liberal hoax". Still others say that regulating rapacious corporations is an attack on "our liberty".

    When oh when will Americans wake up and realize that the conservatives are systematically ruining our country for their own benefit?

    August 13, 2010 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  3. Duke

    Tell your congressman & senators to STOP STEALING the MONEY from S/S as they have since 1964 when LBJ (D) and Demoratic congress & senate voted to do so- THEY Have robbed S/S for the last 40+ years- TIME TO STOP

    August 13, 2010 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  4. Marie MD

    Noway SS can help pay for all. Just glad (are you listening angle lunatic from Nv?) that our SS was not part of the wall street fiasco thanks to the rethugs.
    It's bad enough that 401ks are half or less than what they were three years ago.
    If you live in a high tax area where you need a large income be prepared to move once you retire.

    August 13, 2010 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  5. Steve in North Carolina

    Don't count on anything run by our government. They are too busy spending money we don't have, as well as spending the money we do have for purposes other than what they where intended for. We need new blood in congress!

    August 13, 2010 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  6. John

    Social Security isn't supposed to be relied on. At it's onset, it was true 'life insurance' – in case you were still alive, as one didn't get benefits from it until they outlived the average by a couple of years.

    Anyway, it's best to plan for it not being there, and if it is – well good for you!

    August 13, 2010 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  7. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    I'm 57 and I'm not counting on it.

    Social Security was a bad idea in the first place, and with the politicians constantly trying to buy votes by turning it more and more into an entitlement program, it's become a truly horrible, utterly unsustainable, idea.

    Social Security ought to be phased out, starting now, so it can be done as gently as possible. The alternative is to wait for it to collapse catastrophically and do huge amounts of damage to peoples' lives.

    Step One, of course is to let those of us who want to opt out do so, and be refunded all the taxes, plus interest, we've "contributed" to the system over the years.

    August 13, 2010 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  8. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    This ponzi scheme will not even be there for this late "Baby Boomer". I'll turn 54 on Sunday and already Congress is considering raising the retirement age to 70! That is an eight year extension. After the 2008 collapse that allow crooked Wall Street and Insurance executives to steal over 50 % of my retirement savings I'll have to work to 82 years old if I live that long. And to pour salt on my wounds our Government told me that myself, my children and my grandchildren will have to pay to bailout the very crooks who stole my money!
    Well I'm not dead yet! And I will never forget the fact that my Government stood to protect criminal Corportations before the people.

    Help me by using your vote this year to "Fire Congress"!
    Guess what Congress "You Are Fired!"
    This fall vote "No to incumbents"
    Fire All incumbents!

    August 13, 2010 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  9. Fair is Fair

    That's because, like every Ponzi scheme, Social "Insecurity" is, by design, doomed to collapse from within.

    Don't believe me? OK... ask any financial expert what you could expect to have amassed at age 65 if for your entire working career you stashed 12.4% of your salary (6.2% by you, 6.2% by your employer) compounded at a very conservative 3% annually... and then compare it to the peanut shells the government throws your way – IF you're lucky enough to get any at all.

    Bernie Madoff would be proud.

    August 13, 2010 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  10. JES

    We don't count on our elected officials either.

    August 13, 2010 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  11. Chuck in Jasper Ga

    I wonder if U.S, Persian Gulf Foreign Policy will last another 70 years. We started in the Persian Gulf in 1940. Maybe if we did away with fighting wars so the oil companies can reap unprecedented profits, there would be enough money to pay back the loan the Federal Government took out from the Social Security reserves.

    August 13, 2010 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  12. LiberalNN

    The baby boomers will plunder Social Security if it isn't misspent by our idiotic government first.

    August 13, 2010 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  13. Jim

    The American workers should file a class action lawsuit to get what we have all paid into. Make sure you keep those copies of what you paid into so far that social security sends you now and then. There's nothing like legalized slavery. Work till you die people and don't expect anything from the government even though you've paid into SSN all your working life. Funny how they can bail out their banker buddies quickly while the rest of us 'little people' work till the skin comes off our bones. Only in America do we let this kind of crap happen. In other countries the people would revolt. What are we afraid of?

    August 13, 2010 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  14. Thomas

    I guess this just demonstrates that the majority of the people polled know very little about how the SSA is run and how the funds are handled.

    August 13, 2010 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  15. Rob

    People may say they don't rely on Social Security, but most people have lost a lot of money out of personal retirement funds due to this horrible economy. Whether they want to or not, many will need Social Security.

    Incompetence in Washington DC has risen to an outrageous level. Continued expansion of the federal government, without a means to pay for it, is leaving us with a $1.47 trillion deficit for 2010 and a national debt that exceeds $13 trillion. The federal government has mismanaged Social Security and Medicare to the point that both programs are going bankrupt. This is gross mismanagement that has never been seen in corporate America. The incompetence and corruption of our leadership in Washington demands action by voters.

    August 13, 2010 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  16. jeff milligan, Las Cruces, NM

    When will the public and our leaders accept the fact that if ALL earnings were subject to the social security and medicare taxes, both systems would be solvent overnight? To cap earnings for SS taxes at $93,000 is just plain stupid. This means the more you make, the smaller % of your earnings will be taxed, even though SS benefits are in part determined by your lifetime earnings. This means that someone making $40,000/yr pays a much higher % of his earnings into the systems as those making more than $93,000. This is not fair, and is one of the main reasons the systems are in such shape. Tax everyone equally for social security and medicare and ALL financial issues with both programs are gone. Simple math.

    August 13, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  17. Doraine Gordon

    This is exactly why you folks had better keep the Democrats in office. You all know good and well that the Republicans have tried to destroy Social Security ever since it was enacted. They absoutely don't want to help anyone. They fully intend to turn America back into two groups of people, RICH and POOR. They don't want a Middle Class. How are people supposeto get by without Social Security? We aren't all wealthy like the Senators andCongressmen. You work and pay into Social Security so you deserve to get it. After the age of 50 most people start going downhill with their health. Alot of us aren't able to work until age 70 as Boehner suggests. And how can you save for old age when you are barely scraping by? You hear that people aen't working and paying into Social Securiy. Well, whose fault is that? The Republicns, that's who. They are the people who sent all our jobs out of the country. They did it to help their wealthy friends. So wake up America and smell the coffee. I know we aren't dumb enough to vote those Republicans back into power!

    August 13, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  18. W L Jones

    The poll taker must have ask the reponder in Chinese ....not English.

    August 13, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  19. Crooks R Congress

    I'm 55 and if congress would let me opt out and invest all that money myself. Bush tried it but the quivering dems blocked it.

    August 13, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  20. EJS

    I am and have been very doubtful of this program because the spenders in Washington have been tapping this fund for years (it is secured with Treasury notes so that should tell you something). I also have a terminal disease which makes it unlikely I will live past 65 (but I'm not sick enough to retire with a disability). I'd like to be able to get the portion back, in a lump sum, that I have paid in to the system. Of course I don't expect that as that would be fair and the government is not fair with taxpayer money, they abuse it. It's actually quite depressing and makes me angry enough to want them ALL out of office, now, but I will be voting in November and will remember...

    August 13, 2010 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  21. diridi

    then, it goes Anarchy...okay...

    August 13, 2010 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  22. Dean DC

    Stem the Red Tide on Nov 2. Save The USA, the economy, social security, jobs, and your right to own guns- vote out that radical HARRY REID. NV voters send him packing like SD did to Daschle. No more spending No Amnesty not now not ever.

    August 13, 2010 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  23. jim

    The social security program that we have in place today is not reconizable with the plan that was enacted when it was created.But all the tinkering around the edges to fix it's flaws has made it into this giganic entitlement system that we have today.A lot of people are counting on some of it to be around when they retire.

    August 13, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  24. Edward Baca

    I'm 61 years old and I fully expect to receive full bennifits. I/ve paid over 40 years into the system and I expect the system to honor it's commitment to me!

    August 13, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  25. Dave

    I'm 30 years old. Since I started planning for retirement around 25 I have never once included Social Security. Sometimes it bothers me that I have to pay into a program that I'll likely never use and pay for all the debts that my parent's generation has inflicted upon me and my children. I'd rather cut Social Security for my generation and on so that my son doesn't have to shoulder unreasonable debt. It's called sacrifice.

    August 13, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
1 2