LANSING, Mich. – Poll questions released today by Americans for Prosperity-Michigan show strong support among likely Michigan voters for transitioning newly hired teachers (62 percent) and local government employees (63 percent) into a 401(k)-style retirement benefits system. Support for a new system eclipsed opposition to such a change across all demographics, party lines and union affiliation with only two exceptions—the City of Detroit and Democratic men. View the full results, including crosstabs, here.

“The hardworking taxpayers recognize government pension programs can no longer fulfill the promise of a secure retirement for public servants including teachers, police and firefighters,” said Pete Lund, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Michigan. “While pensions have long been touted as the hallmark of a secure retirement, public opinion has correctly moved toward individual retirement investment accounts as a better option.”

Lund noted that support for transitioning to a new retirement benefits system was highest among two groups in particular—self-identified Republican voters and younger members of the Millennial Generation (18-29). Millennials supported the change for teachers and local government employees by an astounding 84 percent and 74 percent, respectively, even though 7 out of 10 of them identified as Democrats or Independents. Of Republicans, 77 percent and 78 percent supported a transition.

“There’s a seismic shift in public opinion occurring on this issue: public confidence in centrally managed pension programs continues to erode as awareness of mismanagement and underfunding increases,” said Lund. “Younger generations, in particular, view pensions as outdated retirement vehicles that ought to be replaced with investment accounts over which individuals have more control.”

The grassroots free-market group also distributed the results of the survey question in a letter to lawmakers and email alert to its membership. Lund concluded by noting that state lawmakers have no reason to be fearful of tackling pension reform: “Attitudes have shifted; now it’s time for public policy to follow.”

The poll questions were part of a Marketing Resource Group phone survey, conducted Oct. 16-19, of 600 likely Michigan voters with a margin of error +/- 4.1 percent.

Americans for Prosperity-Michigan is a statewide organization of more than 110,000 activists committed to strengthening our constitutional government, establishing fiscal restraint, and giving taxpayers greater control over government. We are dedicated to recruiting, training, educating and motivating grassroots activists to be effective in their own communities. Americans for Prosperity does not support or oppose candidates for public office.

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