As President Barack Obama negotiates with Republicans in Congress over federal entitlement spending, a new national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that a majority of Americans (55%) have received government benefits from at least one of the six best-known federal entitlement programs.
The survey also finds that most Democrats (60%) and Republicans (52%) say they have benefited from a major entitlement program at some point in their lives. So have nearly equal shares of self-identifying conservatives (57%), liberals (53%) and moderates (53%).
The issue of entitlements moved to center stage during the 2012 presidential campaign. The survey finds that among those who voted for President Obama last month, 59% say they’ve benefited from a major entitlement program. It also finds that 53% of those who supported Mitt Romney have benefited from a major entitlement program.
The survey, which was conducted by telephone from Nov. 28 to Dec. 5, 2012, among a nationally representative sample of 2,511 adults, asked respondents if they or a member of their household had ever received Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, welfare or unemployment benefits. Margin of sampling error for the overall results is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.