Before we get to Rasmussen’s latest survey on American attitudes on federal government, let’s recall the immortal words of Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), who said that the federal government could do pretty much whatever it wanted:
At a July 24 Town Hall meeting, Democratic Congressman Pete Stark of California may have inadvertently articulated the Political Class view. In responding to questions about whether or not the recently passed health care law is unconstitutional, Stark said, “I think that there are very few constitutional limits that would prevent the federal government from rules that could affect your private life.” In response to a follow-up, he added, “The federal government, yes, can do most anything in this country.”
Do Americans agree that Washington DC has unlimited power? Not exactly:
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.
There is one group in the US that agrees with Rep. Stark, however:
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.
I discussed the definition of “political class” in this post, but suffice it to say, this is really the definitional question for the label. The bigger question from this result is why 43% of the political class disagreed with Stark’s idea of constitutional government. If anything, it shows Stark as even more extreme than ever before.
Apart from the political class, it’s rather remarkable to see just how isolated Stark is on his declaration. Only 17% of Democrats agree with his statement, and the same percentage of voters under 30 years of age; 21% of liberals agree, and it does best with African-American voters as a demographic at … 25%.
The survey has other interesting nuggets related to the central question. The individual mandate in ObamaCare still has a double-digit deficit, with voters supporting it only 43/54. A plurality of 46% supports their state suing to end the mandate, with only 37% opposed to the idea. The idea of a referendum on the question has slightly less support at 42/36, perhaps because some states don’t have a mechanism for referenda. Two thirds of respondents oppose the expansion of Medicaid without federal funding to pay for the cost, a position that wins support from a plurality of Democrats as well (49/26).