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One-in-Three Voters View Social Security, Medicare Unfavorably

Medicare and Social Security are big helps to most retired Americans, but one-third of voters don’t care much for either of the long-standing government programs.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 64% of Likely U.S. Voters view Social Security at least somewhat favorably, but 32% have an at least somewhat unfavorable opinion of the program. This includes 28% who view it Very Favorably and 10% Very Unfavorably. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Similarly, 61% hold an at least somewhat favorable regard for Medicare, including 27% with a Very Favorable opinion. But 34% view the government health insurance program for the elderly at least somewhat unfavorably, with 10% who have a Very Unfavorable opinion of it.

Voters over 40 are more enthusiastic fans of the programs than those who are younger. Eighty-eight percent (88%) of voters 65 and older view Social Security favorably, while 85% in that age group say the same of Medicare. However, roughly half of voters under the age of 40 view both programs unfavorably or have no opinion of them at all.

As Congress debates ways to cut the massive federal deficit, the majority of voters now understand that most of the federal budget goes to national defense, Medicare and Social Security.  But 64% say any proposed changes in either Social Security or Medicare should be submitted to the American people before it can become law.

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The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on June 21, 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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