Social Security has already emerged as a major issue for the 2012 elections. A new study shows that most Americans approve of Social Security, but they would also support a more privatized system. A CNN/ORC International poll found:
Eight in 10 Americans think Social Security has been good for the country, with 70 percent of young adults agreeing and almost nine in 10 senior citizens saying the same.
Though large majorities of both parties believe the 75-year-old program instituted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been good, about one-third of all Republicans think it is unconstitutional.
Most under 35 say Social Security has had no effect on their lives, but the number that say the system has been bad for them is roughly the same as the number that think it has benefited them personally — 18 to 20 percent.
The adults who agree that Social Security has been good for them personally rises with age — 85 percent of seniors say the system has benefited them.
But Americans agree Social Security is facing a crisis or major problem. Almost one in five Americans say it is in a state of crisis and another half say it faces major problems.
Roughly half the nation supports one proposed solution, creating a private savings account that citizens could pay into — 52 percent favor allowing workers to invest part of their Social Security taxes in stocks or bonds, and 46 percent oppose that change.
These findings reflect the realization that Social Security, although it may work for the current older generation, might need some reforms to benefit people in the future. The support for a more privatized system will inevitably open the door for conservative politicians — particularly presidential hopefuls — to propose their own revamped Social Security plans.