How Democrats and Republicans View Your Retirement

Members of each political party have different visions for 401(k)s, Social Security, and Medicare.

Romney and Obama battle during the presidential debate at Lynn University.
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Medicare. Majorities of Republicans (53 percent), Democrats (72 percent), and Independents (58 percent) say people on Medicare already pay enough of the cost for their healthcare, the Pew Research Center found. But 41 percent of Republicans say recipients should pay more for Medicare benefits, compared with 32 percent of Independents and 23 percent of Democrats. Young and more affluent Republicans are more likely than Republicans overall to want to pass more of Medicare's costs on to retirees. In neither party does the majority of those surveyed favor changing Medicare into a program that offers future participants credits or vouchers toward purchasing private health-insurance coverage, but Republicans (46 percent) are much more likely to be in favor of this change than Democrats (28 percent) or Independents (34 percent). 

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Potential entitlement changes. The only Social Security tweak that gets support from a majority of Democrats (73 percent), Republicans (54 percent), and Independents (71 percent) is increasing the payroll tax cap. (Workers currently pay into the Social Security system only on earned income up to $110,100 in 2012.) Small majorities of Democrats and Independents, but not Republicans, support reducing Social Security benefits for high-income seniors, the Pew Research Center found. A majority of both parties disapprove of raising the retirement age at which people can claim Social Security benefits, but Republicans (41 percent) are more likely to be in favor of an older retirement age than Democrats (31 percent).