Straight from the Department of Inconsistencies, the latest Reason/Rupe poll is sure to leave you scratching your head.
Oh, this survey includes many of the important topline results that you would expect. Obama’s job approval rating continues to underwhelm with 43 percent approving and 52 percent disapproving of his performance in office. Approval of Congress remains dismal, with just 18 percent approving and 75 percent disapproving. And the generic congressional ballot continues to indicate that Republicans will have a decent year at the polls; voters prefer to see Republicans in control of Congress over Democrats by 33 to 29 percent, and 84 percent of self-identified Republicans say they are likely to vote in November compared to just 73 percent of self-described Democrats.
There are even some surprising results, too, like the apparent fact that this poll found a majority of Americans disapprove of the significant role the United States takes in Middle East peace negotiations. “53 percent of Americans believe the United States should be less involved in negotiating a long-term peace agreement,” Reason pollster Emily Ekins wrote. 21 percent believe America should be more involved, 17 percent would like to see less American involvement, and a full 36 percent prefer the U.S. to disassociate itself entirely from the Middle East.
But the most curious part of this poll came when respondents were asked for their preferences on economic policy. Not surprisingly, Americans prefer that their elected officials pursue growth-oriented policies rather than those that concede the economy will forever contract and our only salvation is to divvy up the remainder of the shrinking pie in the most equitable fashion possible.
“In terms of economic policies, 74 percent of Americans would like Congress to focus on policies to promote economic growth, while 20 percent favor policies to reduce income inequality,” Ekins noted.
This finding was, however, somewhat contradicted when respondents were asked about the 20th Century’s great competing economic philosophies:
Fifty-five percent of Americans tell Reason-Rupe they have a favorable opinion of capitalism. Meanwhile, 36 percent of those surveyed, including 33 percent of independents and 26 percent of self-described Tea Party supporters, have a favorable opinion of socialism. Half of Democrats, 50 percent, have a favorable opinion of socialism, nearly identical to the 53 percent who have a favorable opinion of capitalism.
So, the big takeaway from the Reason/Rupe poll is that people really no longer know what words mean.