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Most Americans Still Think Those in Private Sector Work Harder, Earn Less Than Government Employees

Americans still overwhelmingly believe that those employed in the private sector work harder than government workers but receive less compensation and have less job security.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 70% say private sector employees work harder than their counterparts in the government. That’s up four points from June and is just a point below the highest result measured in December 2009. Only 11% think government employees work harder than those in the private sector. Nineteen percent (19%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Seventy percent (70%) also think government workers have more job security than those in the private sector, a seven-point jump from June. This finding was slightly higher in December 2009 when 74% said government workers have more job security. Just nine percent (9%) now say government employees have less job security than private sector workers, while 14% say the level of security is about the same for both.

Fifty-four percent (54%) say the average government worker earns more money annually than the average private sector worker, a finding that has ranged from a low of 52% in June to a high of 59% last reached in October 2010. Just 29% disagree and say government workers do not generally earn more than private sector workers, while another 16% are undecided.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of Likely U.S. Voters think that thoughtful spending cuts should be considered in every program of the federal government as the nation searches for solutions to the budget crisis. But Americans aren’t prepared yet to abruptly cut the size of the government work force. Just 26% of Americans think it would be good for the economy if the federal government laid off 100,000 workers. However, 66% favor a proposal to cut the federal payroll by 10% over the coming decade.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on August 4-5, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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