Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Polling Data’

We have some very encouraging polling data from CBS News. The American people prefer spending cuts over tax increases by a margin of more than 8-1.

Americans strongly prefer cutting spending to raising taxes to reduce the federal deficit. While 77 percent prefer to cut spending, just nine percent call for raising taxes. Another nine percent want to do both. …The most popular ideas for reducing the deficit are to reduce Social Security benefits for the wealthy, reduce the money allocated to projects in their own community, reduce farm subsidies and reduce defense spending. More than 50 percent supported reductions in each of those programs. …Forty-seven percent say it will be necessary to cut programs that benefit people like them to reduce the deficit.

These results show that the American people understand big government is the problem. And Republicans probably deserve some credit since they’ve been making the right noises about Obama’s misguided agenda.

But if you dig into the details of the poll, the GOP has done an inadequate job of helping people understand why various programs, departments, and agencies should be abolished. The polling data surely would be even better if Republicans were moving beyond general rhetoric and exposing specific examples of waste, fraud, and abuse. And public opinion presumably would be even stronger if Republicans were out there making a principled case that a big share of spending is for things that are not legitimate functions of the federal government.

In other words, Republicans have the ability to strengthen public opinion and get the American people even more excited about an agenda of principled, small-government federalism.

But that will only happen if GOPers actually want to shrink the size and scope of government. Based on what happened the last time they were in power, that’s still an open question.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

When big-spending politicians in Washington pontificate about “deficit reduction,” taxpayers should be very wary. Crocodile tears about red ink almost always are a tactic that the political class uses to make tax increases more palatable. The way it works is that the crowd in DC increases spending, which leads to more red ink, which allows them to say we have a deficit crisis, which gives them an excuse to raise taxes, which then gives them more money to spend. This additional spending then leads to more debt, which provides a rationale for higher taxes, and the pattern continues – sort of a lather-rinse-repeat cycle of big government.

Fortunately, it looks like the American people have figured out this scam. By a 57-34 margin, they say that reducing federal spending should be the number-one goal of fiscal policy rather than deficit reduction. And since red ink is just a symptom of the real problem of too much spending, this data is very encouraging.

Here are some of the details from a new Rasmussen poll, which Mark Tapscott labels, “evidence of a yawning divide between the nation’s Political Class and the rest of the country on what to do about the federal government’s fiscal crisis.”

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters think reducing federal government spending is more important than reducing the deficit. Thirty-four percent (34%) put reducing the deficit first.  It’s telling to note that while 65% of Mainstream voters believe cutting spending is more important, 72% of the Political Class say the primary emphasis should be on deficit reduction. …Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans and 50% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties say cutting spending is more important than reducing the deficit. Democrats are more narrowly divided on the question. Most conservatives and moderates say spending cuts should come first, but most liberals say deficit reduction is paramount. Voters have consistently said in surveys for years that increased government spending hurts the economy, while decreased spending has a positive effect on the economy.

I wouldn’t read too much into the comparative data, since the “political class” in Rasmussen’s polls apparently refers to respondents with a certain set of establishment preferences rather than those living in the DC area and/or those mooching off the federal government, but the overall results are very encouraging.

Oh, and for those who naively trust politicians and want to cling to the idea that deficit reduction should be the first priority, let’s not forget that spending restraint is the right policy anyhow. As I noted in this blog post, even economists at institutions such as Harvard and the IMF are finding that nations are far more successful in reducing red ink if they focus on controlling the growth of government spending.

In other words, the right policy is always spending restraint – regardless of your goal…unless you’re a member of the political class and you want to make government bigger by taking more money from taxpayers.

So we know what to do. The only question is whether we can get the folks in Washington to do what’s right. Unfortunately, the American people are not very optimistic. Here’s one more finding from Rasmussen.

Most voters are still not convinced, even with a new Republican majority in the House, that Congress will actually cut government spending substantially over the next year.  GOP voters are among the most doubtful.

Read Full Post »

According to a new poll from Rasmussen, almost two-thirds of the American people want smaller government and lower taxes while only one-fourth want bigger government and higher taxes. Not surprisingly, the moochers and looters of the governing elite are wildly out of touch with the American people, with 70 percent of the political class favoring an increased burden of government while 78 percent of ordinary Americans want more freedom.

Most voters (65%) say they prefer a government with fewer services and lower taxes rather than one with more services and higher taxes. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that only 25% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a government with more services and higher taxes instead. …As is often the case, there is a noticeable divide between the Political Class and Mainstream voters: 70% of the Political Class supports more services and higher taxes, while 78% of Mainstream voters prefer fewer services and lower taxes.

Read Full Post »

Gallup just released a poll showing that 46 percent of Americans view the federal government as an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary Americans. My first reaction was to wonder why the number was so low. After all, we have a political elite that wants to do everything from control our health care to monitor our financial transactions.

But a secondary set of numbers is even more remarkable. As seen in this chart, both Republicans and Democrats tend to view the federal government as a threat mostly when the White House is controlled by the other party.

This complacency is very unfortunate. Republicans presumably want to limit government control over the economy, yet it was the Bush Administration that put in place policies such as Sarbanes-Oxley, the banana-republic TARP bailout, the corrupt farm bills, and the pork-filled transportation bills. Democrats, meanwhile, presumably want to protect our civil liberties, yet the Obama Administration has left in place virtually all of the Bush policies that the left was upset about just two years ago. There has been no effort to undo the more troublesome provisions of the PATRIOT Act. And shouldn’t honest liberals be upset that the Obama Administration is going to such lengths to defend the military’s don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy?

The lesson to be learned is that there is an unfortunate tendency for politicians to misbehave when they get control of the machinery of government. Lord Acton warned that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It’s almost as if Republicans and Democrats do their best every day to confirm this statement.

Read Full Post »

Time for some much-needed positive news. Ordinary taxpayers are slowly but surely figuring out that federal workers are overpaid and underworked. Here are some of the details from the story in the Washington Post.

More than half of Americans say they think that federal workers are overpaid for the work they do…according to a Washington Post poll.

Half also say the men and women who keep the government running do not work as hard as employees at private companies.

…In the new Post survey, 52 percent of Americans think that federal civil servants are paid too much, a view held by nearly two in three Republicans and about seven in 10 conservatives. Far fewer Democrats, independents, liberals and moderates hold this opinion.

…Three-quarters of those surveyed say they think federal workers are paid more and get better benefits than their counterparts outside government, an increase of seven percentage points from a Post-ABC poll conducted in 1982.

And if you want to know why a bloated and overpaid government workforce is bad for the economy, this part of the story says it all.

…nearly half of Republicans would recommend a government job to a relative or close friend just graduating, compared with 70 percent of Democrats. “Why not?” asked Nirmal Sandhu, 56, the father of two college students, who emigrated from India to Long Island in 1987. “Working in the federal government is a good job. For my kids, I think it would be great.”

…African Americans are far more sympathetic to civil servants than are whites, with three-quarters saying they would like to see a young person close to them pursue a career in government.

When people think that mooching off taxpayers and pushing paper for a bureaucracy is a worthy ambition, that is a sign that the nation’s social capital is eroding. And when people actually wind up in the bureaucracy, that is a sign that the nation’s labor force is being misallocated. In either case, long-term growth suffers.

Read Full Post »

There’s an encouraging new poll from Gallup which reveals that 72 percent of Americans say something negative when asked for a one-word description of the federal government. Here’s the “word cloud” showing the results. As you can see, this is very similar to the results for a similar poll on how people describe Congress. Not surprisingly, “corrupt” and “incompetent” are prominent in both polls.

Here’s how Gallup describes the results:

A Sept. 20-21 USA Today/Gallup poll asked respondents what they would say “if someone asked you to describe the federal government in one word or phrase.” The accompanying chart shows the results in graphic form, with the words or phrases displayed according to how frequently they are mentioned. …Overall, 72% of responses about the federal government are negative, touching on its inefficiency, size, corruption, and general incompetence, with the most common specific descriptions being “too big,” “confused,” and “corrupt.” …The generally negative top-of-mind images of the federal government are consistent with the poor ratings the government receives in Gallup’s annual update on the images of business and industry sectors. In the most recent update, from August, 58% rated the federal government negatively and 26% positively.

A word of caution is appropriate at this point. I don’t have the link handy, but I recall recently reading that negative views about government don’t necessarily translate into support for smaller government. If my memory is correct, people apparently want more government-provided security in an environment where there is less faith in the competence of government. Doesn’t make sense to me, but I guess it means that all of us need to do a better job of helping people draw logical conclusions.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: