We see enough surveys that claim conservatives are either less intelligent or poorly informed, so why not take a look at the reverse? Actually, Rasmussen’s most recent national poll didn’t aim to make claims over partisan fact-based realities, but to see how likely voters view spending issues in the run-up to a general election where debt and deficits will be big factors. Let’s take a look at the toplines first:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 76% of Likely U.S. Voters recognize that government spending in America has gone up over the past 10 years. Just nine percent (9%) think spending has gone down, and another nine percent (9%) believe it has stayed about the same. …
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters favor a law that would limit government spending so it could grow only enough to cover population growth and inflation. Twenty-four percent (24%) oppose such a law. Nineteen percent (19%) are undecided.
Findings on these questions are largely unchanged from the first time Rasmussen Reports asked them last May. Government spending in the United States has grown faster than the growth of population plus inflation every year but one since the Beatles played Shea Stadium in 1965. Most of that spending growth resulted from policies enacted while Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon were in the White House.
Among those voters who oppose a cap on spending increases, 31% want even stricter spending limits. But 40% favor looser limits on spending, and 25% more say there should be no spending limits at all.
More than three-quarters of Republicans (76%) want a spending cap that indexes spending to population growth, and half of those who don’t want a stricter spending cap. Only 36% of Democrats want an indexed cap, and 49% of those who don’t prefer a looser cap, and another 22% want no cap at all. The indexed cap gets 57% of independents, but only 31% of independents opposed to it want a stricter cap. Nevertheless, support for caps of one sort or another add up to around 60% of the overall electorate — which would make it difficult for Democrats to run on a spend-more platform.
First, though, you’d have to make sure that people understand that we are spending more over the last ten years. Nearly nine of ten Republicans know it (86%), and almost as many independents (81%). Only 61% of Democrats correctly answer that question, while 16% believe it’s stayed the same. Younger voters tend to follow the same pattern (66% and 10% respectively), while older demos have more than 80% each answering correctly. Self-identified Tea Party members do a little better than non-members (87% to 73%), while the working-class incomes score higher than lower and higher brackets.
The most ironic part of the survey? The political class, which should know this better than most, only gets 65% answering correctly, while 85% of the mainstream gets it right. That tells us we probably need a new political class, eh?
In a similar vein, which nation spends more public funds per capita — the teetering EU nations of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, or the United States? The Republican caucus on the Senate Budget Committee provided this surprising answer yesterday, based on IMF data:
Four of these nations will probably get bailouts from the other. One can’t possibly get bailed out by the other four combined. Care to guess which is which? Oh … let’s not always see the same hands ….