NU Online News Service, Aug. 27, 4:55 p.m. – U.S. investors agree that the government should strengthen Social Security, but they show little agreement about how the government should do the job, according to a new survey by The Gallup Organization, Princeton, N.J.

Gallup researchers surveyed 1,002 randomly selected U.S. investors from Aug. 2-19 for UBS PaineWebber Inc., New York. Each participating investor had to report having at least $10,000 in savings and investments.

Fifty-five percent told researchers that the Social Security system needs major changes or a complete overhaul.

Only 8% said the system is fine the way it is.

But 62% of the participants opposed strengthening the system by cutting benefits for high-income recipients; 69% opposed cutting benefits for all recipients; 71% opposed raising the eligibility age; and 75% opposed raising Social Security taxes.

Fifty-four percent of participants supported the idea of improving the system by putting a portion of Social Security assets in personal retirement accounts. But support for private Social Security accounts has dropped from 60% in June 2000, Gallup reports.