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71% Believe Government Workers Get Better Pensions Than Those In Private Sector

Most voters believe those who work for the government get better retirement benefits than those who work for private companies and also think it’s unlikely their state can afford the benefits given to state workers.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 71% of Likely U. S. Voters feel that, generally speaking, government workers get better pensions than private sector workers. Only 14% disagree, while slightly more (15%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

However, just 32% of all voters say it’s at least somewhat likely that their state will be able to afford all the pension benefits it has promised to state workers while 56% say it’s not likely. Those figures include 8% who say it is Very Likely and 16% who say it is Not At All Likely.

Voters strongly believe that government workers should wait until around age 65 to begin collecting full pension benefits. If someone joins the police force at age 20 and stays for 25 years, only 28% believe that person should receive a full pension for life at age 45. Sixty-one percent (61%) think they should find another job and wait until they retire at around age 65 to receive the full pension from their police work.

Similarly, if someone becomes a teacher right out of college and stays for 30 years until they retire, just 36% say they should receive their full pension for life at that time. Fifty-six percent (56%), however, say they should find another job and wait until they retire around age 65 to get their full teaching pension.

Most Americans continue to believe government workers also have more job security than those in the private sector and that they don’t work as hard as private sector workers. 

(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 Likely Voters was conducted on March 2-3, 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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