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You've Earned a Say: National Survey Results

AARP conducted a series of surveys among  adults at least 18 years old that finds that when it comes to Medicare and Social Security, the public believes Washington is trying to make too many decisions behind closed doors and Washington needs to spend more time listening to ordinary citizens like them. The public feels that both Medicare and Social Security are important to people’s health and financial security in retirement, however confidence in the programs being there throughout retirement is not very strong.

Key findings from the national survey are shown below. Surveys were also conducted among adults at least 18 years old in Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Virginia as well as among nationally representative samples of African-American and Hispanic adults.

Medicare

  • Over nine in ten adults (98%) believe Medicare is important to people’s health in retirement, including over eight in ten who believe it is very important (88%). This sentiment holds true across political parties (100% of Democrats, 96% of Republicans, and 97% of Independents) and age groups (97% of adults under age 50, 98% of 50-64 year-olds, and 99% of adults age 65+) with nearly all believing the program is important to people’s health in retirement.
  • Roughly half (54%) of adults are confident that Medicare will be there for them throughout their retirement. However, less than a fifth (18%) are very confident about this. Younger adults are less confident: 45% of adults age 18-49, 59% of 50-64 year-olds, and 73% adults age 65+ express confidence that Medicare will be there for them.


Social Security

  • Over nine in ten adults (96%) believe Social Security is important to people’s financial security in retirement, including over eight in ten who believe it is very important (84%). This sentiment holds true across political parties (98% of Democrats, 95% of Republicans, and 95% of Independents) and age groups (94% of adults under age 50, 98% of 50-64 year-olds, and 98% of adults age 65+) with nearly all believing the program is important to people’s financial security in retirement.
  • About half (49%) of adults are confident that Social Security will be there for them throughout their retirement. However, less than a fifth (19%) are very confident about this. Younger adults are less confident: 34% of adults age 18-49, 61% of 50-64 year-olds, and 75% adults age 65+ express confidence that Social Security will be there for them.

Views about Washington

  • Over three quarters of adults (78%) agree Washington is trying to make too many decisions behind closed doors when it comes to Medicare and Social Security. Agreement is seen across political parties (72% of Democrats, 89% of Republicans, 79% of Independents) and age groups (80% of adults under age 50, 80% of adults age 50-64, and 70% of adults age 65+).
  • Over nine in ten adults (95%) agree Washington needs to spend more time listening to ordinary citizens like them when it comes to decisions about Social Security and Medicare, including over three quarters (79%) who strongly agree. Agreement is seen across political parties (92% of  Democrats, 97% of Republicans, 97% of Independents) and age groups (95% of adults under age 50, 95% of adults age 50-64, and 93% of adults age 65+).

The national survey data presented above was collected by Woelfel Research, Inc., an independent research firm, among 1,207 adults age 18+ from February 17-22, 2012. For more information, please contact AARP Media Relations at 202-434-2560.

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