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Archive for the ‘Polling Data’ Category

I’ve been asked whether I’m a hypocrite because I support decentralization while at the same time being critical of state and local governments.

I don’t think there’s any inconsistency in my position. Here’s some of what I wrote last July.

I’m a strong believer in federalism, but not because I think state and local governments are competent. Politicians and interest groups are a toxic combination in all circumstance. But at least people have considerable ability to cross borders if they want to escape greedy and despotic governments at the state and local level. And when the geese with the golden eggs can fly away, this facilitates competition between governments and forces politicians to restrain their appetites.

Maybe I’m just daft (as my leftist friends often claim), but I think that’s a perfectly defensible position.

Anyhow, I feel compelled to give that bit of background because it’s once again time to mock state and local governments.

Here’s an excerpt from the Detroit News that tells you everything you’ll ever need to know about the stupidity of government. The city actually loses money on parking enforcement.

The city is paying $32 to issue and process a $30 parking violation, and it hasn’t adjusted rates since 2001. On top of that, about half of Detroit’s 3,404 parking meters are not operating properly at any given time, says Orr’s spokesman, Bill Nowling.

Wow, this must be an all-time record. A local government can’t even fleece people competently.

The only thing more shocking is when the government is too incompetent to give away money, which actually happened with one boondoggle in the United Kingdom.

Now let’s travel a few thousand miles and look at another example of how Washington isn’t the only place where government does strange things.

I’ve written many times about the lavish pay and gold-plated benefits of bureaucrats, but cops in Hawaii may have set a new record for fringe benefits. Or maybe this is a new version of friends with fringe benefits, to coin a phrase.

Here are the fun (and PG-13-rated) details in Jacob Sullum’s article in Reason.

Hawaii’s prostitution law includes an exemption for “any member of a police department, a sheriff, or a law enforcement officer acting in the course and scope of duties.” …That’s right: Cops insisted that they must be free not just to receive blowjobs and handjobs from prostitutes but also to engage in vaginal and anal intercourse with them. Evidently the police also need permission to engage in “flagellation or torture by or upon a person as an act of sexual stimulation or gratification” (Hawaii’s definition of “sadomasochistic abuse”). Just in case. Since an entire chamber of the state legislature agreed to this request, the cops must have had a pretty persuasive argument.

Hmmm…makes me wonder if the legislators also added an exemption for themselves. Based on the state’s tax rates, we already know they screw taxpayers for money, so it’s not much of a leap to suspect they’re doing the same thing on a one-on-one basis.

Though, as shown in this cartoon, they’re not used to spending their own money.

All kidding aside, Jacob makes the very sensible point that the real problem is that politicians have enacted laws against a victimless crime.

…the double standard demanded by police highlights the utter absurdity of prostitution laws. Police do not commit murder to catch killers or knock over banks to catch robbers. Yet here they are insisting that they need the leeway to have sex with prostitutes in order to stop people from having sex with prostitutes. Even if cops never take advantage of that freedom, they routinely commit the crime of agreeing to pay for sex, except that in their case it is not treated as a crime. That exemption is considered acceptable only because exchanging money for sex, unlike murder and robbery, does not violate anyone’s rights. But if so, why not broaden the exemption to cover everyone?

I agree. I find the whole business of prostitution very distasteful, just as I feel nothing but disdain for illegal drugs. But prohibition just makes matters worse.

P.S. Since this post looks at both parking meters and prostitution, you’ll be amused by the way the Germans combined those two topics.

P.P.S. I periodically share polling data that strikes me as significant. Most recently, for instance, I noted that crazy left wingers openly admitted they want higher tax rates even if the government doesn’t raise any revenue. That was a depressing result, but I was encouraged to see that a vast majority of Americans view big government as a threat to the nation’s future.

Here are a couple of new polls that caught my attention.

1. I’m rather worried that a new Rasmussen poll found that “for the first time, fewer than half of voters believe tax cuts help the economy.” For what it’s worth, I suspect this is because politicians often gravitate to “tax cuts” that fail to reduce the burden on productive activity. Instead, they make the code more complex by expanding credits, deductions, exemptions, preferences, and exclusions.

If they started pushing for lower marginal tax rates or fundamental tax reform, the polling numbers would probably be better.

2. Let’s now cross the ocean and look at some remarkable Gallup data on the role of government in thwarting small businesses.

Gallup Europe Entrepreneurship

I already knew Greece had stunningly absurd barriers to entrepreneurship (click here for an unbelievable example), so one can only imagine the types of nonsense imposed by Italy’s feckless government.

3. Let’s close with some very good news. It seems that young people are beginning to realize that Ronald Reagan was right (see second video) when he said government is the problem rather than the solution.

Check out this excerpt from a report by National Journal.

Millennials who may have voted with youthful exuberance in 2008 seem to have grown fatigued with the government’s inability to get things done. In 2009, 42 percent of millennials said government programs are usually inefficient and wasteful, according to Pew data. By 2012, that number had increased to 51 percent. And young people say they’re losing trust in the government to Do the Right Thing. In 2009, 44 percent of millennials said they trust the government to do what’s right all or most of the time. By 2013, that dropped to 29 percent.

Makes me think maybe these youngsters finally figured out that programs like Social Security are empty Ponzi schemes.

By the way, here are the best poll numbers I’ve ever seen.

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Why do statists support higher tax rates?

The most obvious answer is greed. In other words, leftists want more tax money since they personally benefit when there’s a larger burden of government spending. And the greed can take many forms.

They may want bigger government because they’re welfare recipients getting handouts.

They may want bigger government because they are overpaid bureaucrats administering ever-growing programs.

They may want bigger government because they’re lobbyists manipulating the system and it’s good to have more loot circulating.

They may want bigger government because they’re one of the many interest groups feeding at the federal trough.

Or they may want bigger government because they are politicians seeking to buy votes.

But greed isn’t the only answer.

Some statists want higher tax rates for reasons of spite and envy.

Consider this poll from the United Kingdom. It shows that an overwhelming majority of Labour voters want higher tax rates even if the government doesn’t collect any money.

Class Warfare UK Tax Poll

These numbers are remarkable.  It’s not just that the Labour Party is filled with people who want to punish success, I’m also dismayed to see that 16 percent of Tory voters and 35 percent of UKIP voters also want class-warfare tax hikes solely as an instrument of envy (though, given the mentality of some of their leaders, I’m pleasantly surprised that “only” 29 percent of Lib Dems are motivated by spite).

What about Americans? Do they have the same mentality?

We don’t have identical polling data, so it’s hard to say. But it would be very interesting to show leftists the IRS data from the 1980s, which unambiguously demonstrates that rich people paid more tax after Reagan dramatically lowered the top rate, and then see how they would answer the same question.

If they’re motivated by greed, they would favor Reagan’s tax cuts. But if they’re motivated by envy, like leftists in the United Kingdom, they’ll be against Reagan’s lower tax rates.

Unfortunately, there’s at least one prominent statist in America who has the same views as England’s Labour Party voters. Pay close attention at the 4:20 mark of this video.

Yes, you heard correctly. President Obama wants higher tax rates and class-warfare tax policy even if the government doesn’t collect any additional money.

Which means, of course, that he’s willing to undermine American competitiveness and reduce economic output solely to penalize entrepreneurs, investors, small business owners, and other “rich” taxpayers.

Remarkable.

P.S. By the way, the poll of UK voters wasn’t merely a theoretical question. UK Laffer Curve Class WarfareThe previous Labour Party government raised the top tax rate from 40 percent to 50 percent near the end of last decade and there’s very strong evidence that this tax hike failed to raise any revenue. In all likelihood, the then-Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, imposed the class-warfare policy in hopes of gaining votes in the upcoming election.

P.P.S. Notwithstanding their many flaws, at least the folks who work for left-leaning international bureaucracies acknowledge the Laffer Curve and generally argue against pushing tax rates above the revenue-maximizing level.

Since it takes a lot to be to the left of the United Nations, that gives you an idea of where Obama (and UK Labour Party voters) are on the ideological spectrum. Which is why I made the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that Birthers accuse Obama of being born in Denmark rather than Kenya.

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After nearly five years in office, what’s President Obama’s most significant accomplishment?

This is a serious question, so no jokes about the Nobel Prize he received for not being Bush. And no partisan GOP answers about the 2010 election, either.

Put yourself in the position of a future historian and think about what you would put in a book to describe Obama’s biggest accomplishment.

I don’t think anyone, regardless of ideology, would pick the so-called stimulus. Advocates of small government say it was a waste of money based on deeply flawed Keynesian theory.

Proponents of big government, by contrast, also aren’t big fans of the stimulus, though they’re dissatisfied because they think Obama should have wasted even more money.

Another potential answer is Obamacare. Libertarians and conservatives, needless to say, would say it was a significant accomplishment in the same sense that the Titanic had a significant maiden voyage.

Leftists, by contrast, obviously can’t be pleased by the way Obamacare is imploding  in the short run, but they nonetheless may think that it will be worth it in the medium run because more people will be dependent on government (though they may regret their choice in the long run).

Killing Osama bin Laden is probably a good answer, but if terrorism and conflict with the Islamic world are still big issues in the future, then I suspect the achievements of Seal Team Six won’t be seen as making that much of a difference.

For what it’s worth, I think the change in public opinion may be the President’s most long-lasting and significant accomplishment. Take a look at these remarkable results just published by Gallup. A record share of the population now say that big government is the biggest threat to the nation’s future.

Gallup Big Government Polling Data

Wow. I’m tempted to say that this is strong evidence of the effectiveness of the Cato Institute (and there is independent data to support that position), but I feel compelled to admit that Obama also deserves a good bit of the credit.

Even more amazing, President Obama has done something that is probably beyond even the ability of Cato. He’s convinced partisan Democrats that big government is a serious threat. Look at how the numbers have dramatically changed since 2008.

Gallup Big Govt Democrat Polling Data

What’s particularly amazing about the shift among Democrats isn’t that 56 percent now view big government as the major threat today, compared to 32 percent about five years ago. What’s shocking is that this change happened with a Democrat in the White House.

This is newsworthy because partisan Republicans and Democrats have a tendency to say things are good or bad depending on whether “their team” is in charge.

While these numbers are remarkable, I suppose it’s too early to say the growing concern about big government is the most significant accomplishment of the Obama presidency.

That being said, anxiety about big government may lead to big political changes in 2014 and 2016, and those political changes may then lead to big policy changes such as entitlement reform and tax reform.

And if that happens, then the shift in public opinion during the Obama years may turn out to be profoundly important. In other words, Obama may turn out to be another Herbert Hoover – a politician whose statist policies set the stage for dramatic changes in public policy.

And if that happens, Obama truly will deserve to be named “libertarian of the year.”

P.S. While big government is the biggest threat to the country’s future, big business and big labor can be very dangerous to liberty when they get in bed with big government.

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I was very pleased to report the other day that the people of France overwhelmingly favor spending cuts, even when they were asked a biased question that presupposed that Keynesian-style spending increases would “stimulate” the economy.

Now I have some polling data about British voters, though I confess I’m not sure whether to be pleased or worried.

You’ll see below two slides that were presented earlier today at the Bucharest stop on the Free Market Road Show. They’re not from my presentation, but rather from the speech by Matthew Sinclair of the UK-based Taxpayers Alliance.

As you can see from this first slide, the good news is that only 12 percent of British people think government taxes and spends too little.

Sinclair 1

On the other hand, it’s a bit worrisome that nearly 1-in-5 Brits believe in UFOs.

What a bunch of idiots.

Then again, nearly 1-in-3 Americans believe that higher taxes would be used for deficit reduction instead of more spending, and that’s an even more preposterous conclusion.

So I shouldn’t make fun of our English cousins.

Here’s some more good-news/bad-news polling data.

The good news is that only 12 percent of Brits think that the government can pay promised benefits (and I bet that number would fall even lower if they saw this shocking data on the U.K.’s long-run fiscal outlook).

Sinclair 2

The bad news is that 13 percent of Brits think the moon landings were faked.

But since 17 percent of Americans actually admit to having positive feelings about the federal government, I’m reluctant to throw stones since my country is a glass house.

Let me close on a positive note. I’ve expressed considerable pessimism about the future of the United Kingdom, and I think the current leadership of the supposed Conservative Party is terrible.

But maybe there’s reason to hope. It wasn’t that long ago that I shared a very encouraging story from England about civil disobedience against a revenue-hungry government.

And now we know from Matthew’s data that the British people have appropriately jaundiced views of their government.

So perhaps if they ever find another Margaret Thatcher, there’s a 5-percent chance that they can pull themselves back from the fiscal abyss.

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I like the think I’m a reasonably savvy observer of public opinion and international economics, but every so often I’m stunned by some bit of data.

Several years ago, for instance, I was very surprised to see that more than half of the French people would consider moving to the United States if they had the opportunity.

Well, the French have shocked me again. According to new polling data from Pew, the people of France support spending cuts over spending increases by a margin of 81-18, an astounding result.

Pew European Spending Cuts

I’m also surprised that the Spaniards and Italians support spending cuts. The polling results are especially impressive considering that Pew asked the question in a very biased way, presupposing that Keynesian economics actually works.

The fact that so many European saw through this inaccurate wording is very encouraging.

By the way, I can’t resist sharing this part of the Pew survey. It shows that the people of all eight nations think they’re the most compassionate.

Pew European Stereotypes

On a humorous note, the folks from every nation chose the Germans as the most trustworthy – except the Greeks, who chose themselves.

With my twisted sense of humor, this reminds me of the funny (but un-PC) maps showing how the Greeks (and folks other nations) view the rest of Europe.

And since we’re being politically incorrect, here’s some English humor about terror alerts in other nations.

P.S. It turns out the French people also supported spending cuts by a very strong margin in a 2010 poll. So there’s something nice about the country other than attractive women. But given those poll numbers, why the heck do they elect big-government statists such as Sarkozy and Hollande?!?

P.P.S. Since I’m a proud America, I can’t resist linking to this poll which shows people in the United States favoring spending cuts by a margin of more than 8-1. So why do we elect big-government statists such as Bush and Obama?!?

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It’s a challenge to be a libertarian in Washington because you have to swim against the tide.

The vast majority of people in town are looking for excuses to spend money and amass power, and a small band of us are trying to convince them that the federal government should be limited in size and scope.

It may seem like a hopeless task.

*Libertarians argue against big expensive entitlement programs like Medicaid, explaining that it’s not a proper function of the federal government.

*Libertarians argue against stupid little publicity stunts like steroid hearings, explaining that it’s not a proper function of the federal government.

*Libertarians argue against emotional gestures such as disaster relief, explaining that it’s not a proper function of the federal government.

*Libertarians argue against the entire Department of Transportation, explaining that it’s not a proper function of the federal government.

I could provide more examples, but you get the idea. It seems as if libertarians are stuck with a Sisyphean task, urging “no” in a town filled with people who want to say “yes.”

But I don’t think our work is hopeless. I’ve already shared many reasons to be hopeful, and we now have some new polling data that should make us more optimistic. According to the folks at Pew, Americans have very low opinions of the federal government.

Here are the key details from a Washington Post story about the poll.

…28 percent of the public views the federal government favorably, down five points from a year ago and also the lowest percentage ever in a Pew survey on the topic. The lowly rating for Washington compares to 63 percent of people holding a favorable opinion of their local governments and 57 percent expressing a favorable view of their state governments. Even among Democrats, who tend to show more support for government, the numbers have dipped on the federal side. Fewer than half of Democrats– 41 percent– said they hold a favorable opinion of the federal government, representing a 10-point drop from the previous year.

These numbers should be very good news for anyone who wants to push a “federalism” agenda. And Gallup also has found considerable – and growing – hostility to the federal government.

In other words, the American people are on our side. Or, to be more precise, they broadly realize that Washington has too much power and money.

Our job is to translate that sentiment into public policy.

By the way, Switzerland has the strongest system of federalism, and it is doing very well by world standards. Canada also has a decentralized system that has produced some very good policy in recent years.

P.S. For those who care about the Constitution, it’s worth noting that America’s Founding fathers explicitly limited the powers of the central government.

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Early in the year, I shared a powerful video about the right to keep and bear arms. It featured the Sheriff of Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, who made a public service announcement advising citizens that gun ownership was important for self defense.

That’s such a common-sense point that it presumably shouldn’t have merited any comment, but it was newsworthy because the establishment press frequently tries to promote the narrative that law enforcement officials are opposed to the Second Amendment.

But in virtually every instance, the “officials” are big-city police bosses who are parroting the views of the political masters who appointed them to their positions.

So what do regular cops think about gun control?

I’ve always assumed they favored the right to keep and bear arms. Simply stated, cops have a practical understanding that there are bad people in the world. Moreover, they know it’s impossible for them to be everywhere at once, so armed citizens are the first line of defense.

And the cops that I know are strong defenders of private gun ownership, but I haven’t wanted to extrapolate from that anecdotal evidence.

So I’m not surprised that police officers are against gun control, but I had no idea that cops were so overwhelmingly solid on the Second Amendment until I saw the polling data from this survey of 15,000 law enforcement officials.

Here are two of the most startling findings, beginning with a question on whether magazine limits will be effective in reducing crime. An astounding 95.7 percent of respondents say no.

Gun Survey 2

Makes you wonder whether Andrew Cuomo and other sleazy politicians understand that they’re pushing policies that will have no positive impact? Or whether they even care?

Perhaps all lawmakers should be required to read Larry Correia’s article on the real-world impact of such policies.

But what about “assault weapons”?

Well, 91.5 percent of cops said a ban on these semi-automatic weapons would either be useless or the policy would have a negative impact on fighting crime.

Gun Survey 1

Indeed, almost three times as many cops said the effect would be negative compared to those who thought a ban on these guns would have a moderate or significant positive effect!

In other words, cops understand instinctively and through practical experience what scholars such as John Lott have discovered through research.

Interestingly, it appears cops are even better on the Second Amendment than ordinary Americans. According to this polling data I shared back in January, “only” 58 percent of Americans understood that more guns would reduce crime.

But I’m still proud of these ordinary Americans. An overwhelming 65 percent of them said they would disobey laws designed to confiscate their guns.

P.S. While I’m very glad that police officers support the Second Amendment, there are some cops who deserve scorn because of what they do to me and what they do to innocent 10-year old kids.

P.P.S. If you enjoy anti-gun control humor, here are lots of amusing images and funny videos.

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I periodically share public opinion data, either because I’m encouraged by the results or because I think that the research helps show how to frame issues.

Examples include polling data on personal retirement accounts, the dangers of big government, support for spending caps, and viability of class warfare tax policy.

But I’ve been very narrowly focused. Just about all the polls I’ve shared have been about some aspect of fiscal policy.

So I was very interested to see a new poll about issues related to the Second Amendment, and I was particularly gratified to see that an overwhelming majority of gun owners would not surrender their constitutional rights if the jackals in Washington approved a gun ban.

Second Amendment Poll Defy Govt

For more information, here’s part of a Washington Times report on the new polling data.

Question 46 in the wide-ranging survey of more than 1,000 registered voters asks if there is a gun in the household. Overall, 52 percent of the respondents said yes, someone in their home owned a gun. That number included 65 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of conservatives, 38 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of liberals. But on to Question 47, addressed to those with a gun in their home: “If the government passed a law to take your guns, would you give up your guns or defy the law and keep your guns?” The response: 65 percent reported they would “defy the law.” That includes 70 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of conservatives, 52 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of liberals.

These results don’t tell us why people would defy the government, but the poll I conducted suggests that a plurality of Americans support the Second Amendment because they want the ability to resist tyranny.

I’m also happy to see that most Americans understand that gun bans are a very ineffective way of fighting crime. Heck, they realize that we need more guns in the hands of law-abiding people.

Second Amendment Poll Reduce Crime

In other words, ordinary Americans have a lot more common sense than the buffoons in the media. They know that you get less crime when you increase the expected cost of criminal behavior.

P.S. If you want to enjoy some good gun control cartoons, click here, here, and here.

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I periodically share polling data, in part because such information tells us what people think, but also because this type of research warns us where we need to focus our educational efforts and also gives us guidance on better ways to frame our message.

In recent months, for instance, I’ve gleefully noted that voters disagree with Paul Krugman on the economic impact of government spending.

But I also was shocked to see another poll that found French and Italians were more supportive of spending cuts than Americans.

Here’s some new polling data that seems very encouraging. Americans, by an overwhelming margin, think that Washington is causing serious harm to the nation.

Gallup Poll - Washington serious harm

But it’s important to look at this data dispassionately.

Maybe people merely object to gridlock, meaning that it would be a mistake to interpret these results as being a reflection of widespread libertarian sentiment.

So it’s important that advocates of freedom build upon these polling results to educate people about the risks of giving more money and power to a dysfunctional town.

The good news is that we do see significant skepticism about policies to expand the size and scope of the federal government.

I recently shared some data showing that most Americans wisely suspect that higher taxes would result in bigger government rather than less red ink.

I also found similar results in a Reason poll from 2011.

Reason Poll - spend new tax revenue

That same poll also found strong support for a limit on federal spending, which warms my heart since I’ve been trying to build support for a Swiss-style spending cap in America.

Reason Poll - spending cap

Here are some other encouraging pieces of polling data.

But let me close by stating that our goal is to preserve the freedom we have and restore the liberties that we have lost.

Public opinion data is useful in that it tells us how people think and suggests ways to frame our message.

But it should never cause us to change our principles.

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President Obama and other statists in Washington want a big class-warfare tax hike. They claim the additional revenue is necessary to reduce red ink.

But their ideological crusade is based on some blatant distortions.

In other words, the Obama tax hike will make government bigger, even if some naively support the tax hike because they want smaller deficits.

That being said, I’m not overly optimistic that Obama’s divisive proposal can be stopped, largely because I don’t think Republicans will take my advice on how to win this fight.

But at least the American people have an appropriately jaundiced view about what will happen if Obama does prevail.

Here are the results of a recent poll showing that a strong majority understand that more revenue will lead to an expansion in the burden of government spending.

Though I suppose these numbers don’t necessarily show that people are against higher taxes. Perhaps some of the 57 percent want higher taxes because they want more government.

After all, that’s the most logical interpretation of the election results in California, where voters approved a referendum to rape and pillage upper-income taxpayers.

But I suspect – and definitely hope – that most of the 57 percent understand that making America more like Europe is not a desirable outcome.

By the way, I shared some polling data last week showing that CPAs think that changes in tax rates lead to substantial Laffer Curve effects.

They were also asked their opinion on whether higher taxes will be used for deficit reduction.

As you can see, they were even more skeptical than the general public, with more than 60 percent definitely thinking that more revenue in Washington will lead to more spending.

To be sure, there’s no particular reason to think that CPAs have any special insight on this issue. On the Laffer Curve question, by contrast, they presumably do have insider knowledge of how taxpayers respond when tax policy changes.

But I’m digressing. The point of this post is to explain that higher taxes will lead to bigger government.

And if you don’t believe me, then why did the New York Times unintentionally admit that the only budget deal that actually resulted in a budget surplus was the one that cut taxes instead of raising them?

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I’ve repeatedly expressed my concerns that Romney would be another Bush, expanding the burden of government spending and failing to engage in desperately needed entitlement reform.

I’ve even shared some R-rated anti-Romney humor, so folks know I’m not a knee-jerk Republican.

But I have to confess that this new global poll is the most persuasive pro-Romney information that I’ve seen. Simply stated, if the nation that elected an idiot like Hollande overwhelmingly supports Obama, then maybe the alternative is acceptable.

On the other hand, I’m mystified why the Aussies are so in the tank for Obama. I thought they were rather sensible, based on their good economic reforms.

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When I first saw this polling data, I thought we had some great news. After all, it shows that Americans – by a margin of more than 4-to-1 – want to reduce the burden of government spending.

This comports with data from previous polls, including the recent survey showing nearly three-fourths of Americans don’t think Obama’s spending helped the economy, the 2011 poll showing Americans overwhelmingly view big government as the greatest threat to the nation, the strong support for spending cuts in a survey earlier that year, and the 2010 poll revealing that Americans saw excessive spending as the real fiscal challenge facing the country, not deficits.

But then I noticed that Americans in this new survey are to the left of both the French and the Italians. That’s embarrassing. Sort of like losing a foot race to 500-lb elderly lady with one leg.

This isn’t the first time that Americans have lagged some of their European counterparts.  Back in 2010, I reported on a survey showing people in the U.S. were to the left of both the Germans and the French.

How shameful. Now the old lady is blind as well, but still beating us.

But let’s conclude by looking at the glass as being half full. At least the American people are to the right of Obama. His most recent budget proposed to increase the federal budget by $2 trillion over the next 10 years.

Only 14 percent of the population is crazy enough to think that’s a good idea.

P.S. The United Kingdom is the only country where more people want to increase spending rather than cut spending. Not a good sign for that nation’s future. Seems I was quite prescient back in August.

P.P.S. As you can see from this post, if we simply freeze spending (i.e., keep the current level of spending), the budget is balanced in about six years.

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As shown in the video series on the economics of government spending, I’m not a big fan of the welfare state, which is big government in the long run.

I’m also not a fan of bigger government in the short run, which is what we get from Keynesian economics and so-called stimulus.

But truth doesn’t matter in Washington if voters don’t agree with your position. Actually, truth may not matter even if voters are on your side. But there’s at least a chance to prevail against the prevailing culture of statism when voters support your position.

So let’s enjoy these details about some encouraging new polling data.

Three quarters (74%) of voters do not believe federal government spending has helped the economy, and 86% do not believe government spending has helped their own personal financial situation.  This pessimism over the impact of government spending is consistent throughout many key demographic groups that are frequently mentioned as “target” voters in the upcoming Presidential election. Nearly three quarters of both men (75%) and women (72%) do not believe government spending has helped the economy, along with eight in ten (80%) seniors.  A majority (54%) of seniors say spending has “hurt” the economy.  Also, a majority of Independents (55%) and married women (59%) believe government spending has hurt the economy.  Three quarters (76%) of middle class families do not believe spending has helped the economy, with 58% believing government spending has actually hurt the economy.

For those who want to take comfort in some additional good public opinion data, here are some additional numbers from previous polls.

These good numbers are why I think it’s actually possible to implement entitlement reform. People see what’s happening in Europe and don’t want America to suffer a similar fate.

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I’ve written posts revealing horror stories of government abuse and argued that people should become libertarian.

I’ve commented on research ostensibly showing that conservatives and libertarians don’t necessarily share moral premises.

And I’ve even speculated on whether libertarianism and patriotism are somehow inconsistent (this Penn & Teller video gives the right answer).

But I’ve never done a poll to gauge libertarian sentiment, so let’s do an experiment. Here’s an excerpt from a BBC report.

A farmer in the US state of Vermont who was facing a minor drugs charge is now in more serious trouble after driving a tractor over seven police cars. Roger Pion crushed the county sheriff’s cruisers on Thursday before making his getaway on the farm vehicle. The 34-year-old was stopped by police in Newport city, northern Vermont, not far from the crime scene. Sheriff’s deputies were unaware of the destruction in their department car park until a resident called 911. Orleans County Sheriff Kirk Martin said they were initially unable to give chase as their cars had been wrecked.

Now share your anonymous reaction.

If you’re so disposed, feel free to augment your vote in the comments section.

You won’t be surprised to learn that I’m torn between the third and fourth options.

When I think about it logically and dispassionately, I know I should pick the third choice. But my rebellious inner child wants to cheer for somebody who fights back, so I’m tempted to take the last option. That same inner child, by the way, was quite amused that the cops couldn’t even give chase because their cars were totaled.

Maybe this makes me a libertarian chicken hawk. I cheer for people who fight back even though I wouldn’t do the same thing.

Sort of like my attitude toward tax evasion. I applaud people who take that risk (assuming they live in nations with unjust governments), but am too cowed by the IRS to do it myself.

But I’m not a complete coward. I almost got thrown in a Mexican jail for opposing the tax-hungry bureaucrats at the OECD. That has to count for something.

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Since starting this blog, I’ve periodically shared polling data that gives me hope. Highlights include:

o More than two-to-one support for personal retirement accounts.

o Recognition that big government is the greatest danger to America’s future.

o An increasingly negative view of the federal government.

o More than eight-to-one support for less spending rather than higher taxes.

o Strong support for bureaucrat layoffs and/or entitlement reforms instead of higher taxes.

o And my favorite poll results are the ones showing that voters understand that the goal is less spending, not lower deficits.

Now there’s some new research that is both encouraging and educational. Here’s part of the report from The Hill.

Three-quarters of likely voters believe the nation’s top earners should pay lower, not higher, tax rates, according to a new poll for The Hill. The big majority opted for a lower tax bill when asked to choose specific rates; precisely 75 percent said the right level for top earners was 30 percent or below. The current rate for top earners is 35 percent. Only 4 percent thought it was appropriate to take 40 percent, which is approximately the level that President Obama is seeking from January 2013 onward. The Hill Poll also found that 73 percent of likely voters believe corporations should pay a lower rate than the current 35 percent… Republicans were more likely than Democrats to support lower tax rates for the wealthy, but voters in both parties solidly supported lower rates compared to current law. Eighty-one percent of Republicans favored tax rates below current levels, compared to 70 percent of Democrats. The Hill Poll, conducted by Pulse Opinion Research of 1,000 likely voters, also found broad support for lower rates across income groups. The group most supportive of lowering tax rates on the wealthy below current rates made between $20,000 and $40,000 a year; 81 percent supported tax rates of 30 percent or lower.

This data is important because it shows the value of framing an issue. Instead of defensively responding to Obama’s class warfare, proponents of good tax policy should be making a philosophical/economic point that “nobody in America, no matter how rich or how poor, should have to pay more than one-fourth of their income to government.”

And proponents of class warfare should be put on the spot and asked “what do you think is the maximum tax rate anyone should pay?”

Last but not least, friends of liberty should make the key point that higher tax rates on the so-called rich are merely precursors for higher tax rates on everyone else – as even the New York Times recently admitted.

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Even when the results coincide with my views, I have a jaundiced view of polling data. In large part, this is because the answers often depend on how a question is framed.

That being said, I periodically link to polling data about economic policy if I think we can glean some insight from the data.

I assume, for instance, that trends can be accurately detected if the same question is asked year after year, regardless of whether the question is fair or slanted.

This is why I posted this poll showing that Americans are increasingly hostile to the federal government.

Similarly, I showed this data on how a growing number of Americans see the federal government as a threat to freedom and liberty.

I also like multi-country polls. Whether the questions are straightforward or tilted, you can at least learn something about differences in national attitudes.

One of my favorite polls, for instance, compared the degree to which Americans and Europeans think it’s okay to mooch off government.

I’m not sure, though, how to react to this latest survey data. Published in the New York Times, it shows widespread global support for more regulation. Here are the results (click the image to enlarge).

These results obviously are not good news for supporters of deregulation – especially since the burden of red tape already is so onerous.

The only bit of good news, at least for American chauvinists, is that people in the United States are more likely than others to think there is “too much” regulation.

But if you look at the data from a different perspective, people in Singapore and Sweden are least likely to say there’s “not enough” regulation.

The most puzzling bit of data is that people in Hong Kong appear to be the most sympathetic to regulation. Considering that Hong Kong is the most economically free jurisdiction in the world, this doesn’t make much sense.

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I posted some polling data a couple of weeks ago that showed how the dependency mindset (as captured by these cartoons) is far worse in Europe than it is in the United States.

Now let’s look at some additional public opinion research from Gallup that illuminates American exceptionalism. Here is how voters responded to a question on the biggest threat to America’s future.

Though I don’t want to get too optimistic. Given what’s happening in Europe and the fact that politicians so far have failed to enact genuine entitlement reform, the 64 percent should be 94 percent.

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I wrote last year that, “I don’t think public policy should be based on polling data, but I always am happy when the American people are on the right side of an issue since it increases the possibility of good outcomes in Washington.”

One other thing to consider is that pollsters can manipulate results by changing how they word a question.

But even with those caveats, I feel good about two three new polls. First, from the folks at Gallup,we have two charts showing that the federal government isn’t winning any popularity contests.

And here’s some more data from the Gallup poll, showing that the federal government has the lowest net positive (or in this case, highest net negative) of any segment of the U.S. economy. It even ranks below lawyers and the oil/gas industry.

We also have some numbers from Rasmussen showing that voters are particularly dismayed by the power of the federal government.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 50% of Likely Voters believe the federal government has too much influence over state governments. Just 11% think the federal government does not have enough influence while 26% believe the balance is about right. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.  …These results come at a time when just 17% believe the federal government has the consent of the governed and only 14% believe the country is generally heading in the right direction.

I also like that only 17 percent think the federal government “has the consent of the governed.” Sounds like people have figured out that much of what happens in Washington is a racket for the benefit of insiders.

Numbers like these warm my heart – just as happened with recent polls on spending cuts, the VAT, and Social Security reform.

P.S. There’s a new Reason-Rupe poll showing that the American people understand that reducing the burden of government spending will boost the economy, whereas tax increases will just lead to bigger government.

…over 57 percent of Americans say reducing government spending will “mostly help” the economy, according to a new national Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey of 1,200 adults. Just 21 percent believe cutting spending will “mostly harm” the economy. …If taxes do go up, Americans don’t trust that the new revenue will be used to reduce the national debt.  When asked what they expect Congress would do with money generated by tax increases, 62 percent of Americans say Congress would spend that money on new programs. Only 27 percent of taxpayers believe Congress would actually use the money to pay down the national debt.

All these results demonstrate the wisdom of the American people (though I reserve the right to re-classify them as ignorant yokels when they disagree with me).

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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.

Welcome Instapundit readers!

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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.

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I just had the interesting experience of getting called by a well-known polling company while sitting in the Tampa Airport.

The good news is that they’re allegedly going to send me $5 for participating via cell phone (yes, I’m a cheap bastard, so that was all it took to convince me to give up 10 minutes of my time – especially since there are not many exciting things to do while waiting for a delayed flight).

The bad news is that polling companies ask poorly designed questions.

I was asked, for instance, what I wanted as the main goal of fiscal policy. My choices were, a) reducing taxes, b) reducing the deficit, or c) maintaining government services. I told the pollster that the right answer is, d) reducing government spending. After all, the evidence is very clear that excessive government slows growth by diverting resources from the productive sector of the economy. Sadly, the poll only allowed the three options. So I said “reducing taxes” since that was my only choice that couldn’t be misinterpreted.

Another question was whether the retirement of the baby boom generation would create problems for health care. So I told the pollster that also made no sense. The retirement of the boomers would create big problems for Medicare and Medicaid, but that’s not the same as big problems for health care. So I refused to answer that question. In retrospect, I probably should have answered “yes” since government intervention has screwed up the entire health care system, even the parts that ostensibly are private.

To be fair, most of the questions were straightforward. Shockingly, I said that I disapproved of Obama’s performance. You’ll also be stunned to learn that I said I was a strong supporter of the Tea Party movement. And I was insulted to be asked whether I was male or female after a 10-minute conversation.

Last but not least, I avoided the temptation to mis-identify myself as a Pacific Islander. That should only be done when dealing with government.

One final note. This actually was my second experience with pollsters. The first time happened when I was walking by a pay phone in a shopping mall in Indianapolis about 15 years ago. The phone rang, nobody was around, so I figured I would answer and tell the person they had a wrong number. Much to my surprise, it was a polling company, which proceeded to ask me questions about a local congressional race. Even though I obviously couldn’t vote in that area, I went ahead and told them I was firmly against Congresswoman Carson.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I always view polling data with a bit of skepticism, but I’m nonetheless embarrassed by new data from a 22-nation poll showing that German and French respondents are even more opposed to so-called stimulus spending than American respondents. If Americans are to the left of Europeans on size-of-government issues, that does not bode well for our future. On the other had, at least we’re not as naive and/or stupid as Egyptians, Mexicans, Russians, Indonesians, and Nigerians. Here’s a blurb from the summary.

In 14 of 22 countries most people–on average 56 per cent–favour an increase in government spending to stimulate the economy. This includes large majorities of Egyptians (91%), Mexicans (80%), Russians and Indonesians (both 78%), and Nigerians (73%). But majorities are opposed in a number of industrialised countries that had large stimulus programmes–Germany (66%), France (63%) and the US (58%).

The good news from the poll is that a majority of people around the world recognize that governments waste money at alarming rates. Americans think that 55 percent of their taxes are squandered. The Spanish, for inexplicable reasons, are most likely to think money is not wasted (perhaps because most of them have their snouts in the pubic trough?).

People believe that their government misspends more than half the money they pay in tax, according to the findings of a new BBC World Service global poll across 22 countries–but many are still looking to government to play a more active economic role. The poll of more than 22,000 people, conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA, found that people estimated on average that 52 per cent of the money they pay in tax is not used in ways that serve the interests and values of the people of their country. …The countries with the lowest average estimate of misspent tax money were Spain (average 34% misspent), Indonesia (40%), Azerbaijan and Egypt (both 42%). The highest were in Columbia (74% misspent) and Pakistan (69%). In the world’s two largest economies, Americans estimate on average that 55 per cent of their taxes are misspent, while in China the figure is 46 per cent. …As well as being less likely to support action to address the deficit, those who have the highest estimates of tax misspending are less likely to support government stimulus spending–among those who think that more than three-quarters of their tax money is misspent, only 47 per cent believe the government should spend to stimulate the economy.

The full report can be read here.

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I am pleasantly shocked to see that a healthy majority of respondents favor partial privatization of Social Security. I knew support was reasonably strong several years ago, but I feared that the financial crisis would have made Americans more leery of financial markets. I also wondered whether the idea was discredited by its association with the Bush Administration. But a new Pew survey shows very good results, so maybe Republicans will feel more comfortable about developing a “secret plan” for Social Security reform.

…a majority favors a proposal to allow some private investments in Social Security… The latest Pew Research/National Journal Congressional Connection poll, sponsored by SHRM, conducted Sept. 9-12 among 1,001 adults, finds that 58% favor a proposal that would allow workers younger than age 55 to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts that would rise and fall with the markets; 28% oppose this proposal. Majorities across all age groups — except for those ages 65 and older — favor this proposal. …Support for the general concept is comparable to support for a similar plan advocated by former President George W. Bush in 2004. As he sought reelection in the fall of 2004, 58% of registered voters that September favored allowing younger workers to invest a portion of their Social Security; 26% said they opposed this change. However, after Bush won reelection and debate about the proposal began, support weakened. By March 2005, the public was largely split (44% favor, 40% oppose) and the proposal was not enacted.

P.S. The same poll shows that people are not sympathetic, however, to reforming Medicare, however, so the Social Security silver cloud does have a dark lining.

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The folks at Rasmussen Reports have done a great thing by splitting polling data by a new demographic – the political class compared to everyone else. In other words, instead of just telling us about different polling results based on factors such as race and sex, Rasmussen also tells us how polls differ based on a split that could be characterized as insiders vs outsiders. A stark example is the new poll on whether there should be any limits to federal government power. As this excerpt indicates, regular voters say yes by an astounding 94-3 margin, while 54 percent of the political class thinks there should be no limits to federal government power.

Eighty-six percent (86%) of voters nationwide say there should be “limits on what the federal government can do.” A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only nine percent (9%) believe the federal government should be allowed to do most anything in this country. These views are overwhelming shared across virtually all partisan and demographic lines. The only exception is America’s Political Class. By a 54% to 43% margin, the Political Class believes the federal government should be allowed to do most anything. Mainstream voters reject that view by a 94% to three percent (3%) margin.

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I like poking fun at French politicians for being hopeless statists, and I always assumed that French voters shared their collectivist sympathies. But according to new polling data reported by the Financial Times, there may be a Tea Party revolt brewing in France. Among major European nations, the French are most in favor of smaller government. Sacre Bleu!
European governments have solid public support, at least for now, for the spending cuts they are making in an effort to boost economic recovery, according to the latest Financial Times/Harris opinion poll. …The poll’s results point to a fiscal conservatism among the European public that contrasts with the eagerness with which most governments ran up high deficits to protect jobs and living standards as the crisis unfolded. …Asked if public spending cuts were necessary to help long-term economic recovery, 84 per cent of French people, 71 per cent of Spaniards, 69 per cent of Britons, 67 per cent of Germans and 61 per cent of Italians answered Yes. …Asked if they preferred public spending cuts or tax rises as a way to reduce budget deficits and national debts, strong majorities in the five EU countries as well as the US were in favour of spending cuts. Similarly conservative views on public expenditure emerged when people were asked if EU governments were right to engage in large-scale deficit-spending after the 2008 crisis. In all five EU countries, a majority – ranging from 68 per cent in France and Italy to 54 per cent in the UK – said the governments were wrong to have done so.

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I certainly don’t think public policy should be based on polling data, but I always am happy when the American people are on the right side of an issue since it increases the possibility of good outcomes in Washington. Here are some very encouraging results from a Rasmussen poll on taxes.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Adults shows that only 19% would be willing to pay higher taxes to avoid layoffs of state employees. Sixty-nine percent (69%) say they would not be willing to pay more in taxes for this reason. Another 11% are undecided. Adults feel similarly when it comes to funding entitlement programs. Twenty-two percent (22%) would pay higher taxes to prevent cuts in entitlement programs for low-income Americans. Sixty-three percent (63%) say they would not pay more to keep these programs afloat. Another 15% are undecided.

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