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Public Notice Weekly Polling Analysis

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POLLING ANALYSIS

January 26-February 1, 2013

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According to Reason, on average, Americans believe the federal government wastes about 47 cents out of every dollar it spends.

According to Pew, 53% of adults say the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms; 43% say it does not. Of those who said yes, 31% believe the federal government is a major threat to their rights and 22% believe it is just a minor threat. According to Reason, 47% of adults believe the less government the better; 46% believe there are more things the government should be doing.

According to Reason, 74% of adults think the federal government spends too much money; 5% say it spends too little; and 14% say it spends the right amount. 21% said the federal government spends too much on defense; 13% said it spends too much on entitlement and welfare programs; and 13% said it spends too much on foreign aid.

According to the Economist, 25% of adults would cut spending and raise taxes to reduce the budget deficit; 45% would only cut spending; 8% would only raise taxes; and 7% wouldn’t do either.

According to Reason, 75% of adults said the budget deficit is a major problem that must be addressed now; 20% said it is a major problem that should be addressed once the economy is better; and 3% said it is not much of a problem.

President Obama: Average approval from early to late January was 52.3% according to RealClearPolitics. Average disapproval was 42.8%. (The average one week ago, which covered early to late January, was 52.2%. Average disapproval was 43.1%)

Here are the polls released this week on Presidential job approval:

  • Democracy Corps: 54% of likely voters approve and 44% disapprove.
  • Economist: 49% of adults approve and 46% disapprove.
  • Reason: 52% of adults approve and 42% disapprove.

Gallup tracks President Obama’s job approval on a weekly basis. The average one week ago (Jan. 14-20, 2012) showed 50% approved and 43% disapproved. The latest weekly numbers available (Jan. 21-27, 2012) showed 52% approve and 43% disapprove. Last year at this time (Jan. 23-29, 2011), 45% approved and 48% disapproved.

Rasmussen conducts a daily tracking poll. One week ago (Jan. 25), 55% approved and 44% disapproved. On Feb. 1, approval was 56%; disapproval was 44%. Last year at this time, the President’s approval was 49% and his disapproval 49%.

Congress: Average approval for early- to  late January was 15.4% according to the RealClearPolitics average. Average disapproval was 78.6%. (The average one week ago, which covered early to mid-January, was 15.2%. Average disapproval was 79.3%)

Here are the polls released this week on Congressional job approval:

  • Economist: 10% of adults approve and 64% disapprove.
  • Reason: 17% of adults approve and 74% disapprove.

Right Track/Wrong Track: According to the RealClearPolitics average, which covered  mid- to late January, 37.4% think the country is headed in the right direction while 55.8% think it is headed in the wrong direction. (One week ago, the right track average, which covered  mid- to late January, was 36.6%. The wrong track average was 56.4%.)

Here are the polls released this week on the direction of the country:

  • Democracy Corps: 32% of likely voters think the country is headed in the right direction and 59% think it is headed in the wrong direction.
  • Economist: 34% of adults think the country is headed in the right direction and 50% think it is headed in the wrong direction.
  • Rasmussen: 39% of likely voters think the country is headed in the right direction and 54% think it is headed in the wrong direction.

ISSUE SPECIFIC

Budget Deficit & Spending:

According to Reason, 17% of adults believe the federal spending increases made over the last 20 years have improved their quality of life; 40% say the increases have reduced their quality of life; and 39% say they have not made much of an impact.

According to Reason, 49% of adults believe reducing federal spending to 1990s levels would help the economy, 12% say it would hurt; and 31% say it would make no difference.

According to Reason, 49% of adults favor cutting defense spending and 45% oppose. 15% say you couldn’t cut any defense spending without affecting U.S. security. 21% believe you could cut between one and nine percent without affecting security; 25% say you could cut between 1% and 24%; 14% say you could cut between 25% and 49%; 5% say you could cut between 50% and 74%; 1% say you could cut between 75% and 99% percent; and 2% say you could cut 100% of defense spending without affecting U.S. security.

Reason asked respondents whether they would support certain policies in order to cut the budget deficit, or in general. According to the poll:

  • 33% of adults would support raising taxes on everyone in order to reduce the budget deficit; 65% would oppose.
  • 66% of adults would support raising taxes on the wealthy in order to reduce the budget deficit; 31% would oppose.
  • 85% of adults would support reducing spending in order to reduce the budget deficit; 12% would oppose.
  • In general, 31% would favor raising the Medicare eligibility age; 66% would oppose.
  • In general, 40% would favor changing Medicare and Social Security so only those below a certain income level received benefits 56% would oppose.
  • In general, 39% would favor changing the way Social Security COLAs are calculated; 55% would oppose.
  • In general, 50% would favor eliminating all tax deductions and credits if it lowered overall rates; 42% would oppose.
  • In general, 59% would favor eliminating the mortgage tax deduction if it would lower the overall income tax rate; 32% would oppose.

Reason asked what should be done to reduce the budget deficit:

  • 36% said spending should be reduced;
  • 9% said taxes should be increased or tax reform passed;
  • 8% said the economy should improve and jobs should be added;
  • 6% said reduce defense spending;
  • 5% said reduce politicians’ pay and perks;
  • 5% said reduce entitlement and welfare spending;
  • 5% said reduce foreign aid;
  • 4% cut the size of the federal government; and
  • 4% said pay down the national debt.

According to Reason, 13% of adults said the budget deficit should the top priority for the president in his second term. Only the economy (29%) and jobs (19%) received higher percentages.

President Obama approval on the issue:

  • Economist: 38% of adults approve and 51% disapprove.

Debt Ceiling:

According to Reason, 29% of adults support raising the debt ceiling while 64% oppose.

Economy & Jobs:

According to Reason, 29% of adults think the economy should be the top priority for the president in his second term. 19% said jobs. No other issue received higher percentages.

According to the Economist, 25% of adults believe the economy is getting better, 32% believe it is getting worse; and 36% believe it is stuck in neutral.

According to Gallup, its “Economic Confidence Index improved to -9, from -13 the prior week and -22 during the last week of December. This just beats the previous weekly high of -10 set during the week ending Nov. 4, just before the U.S. presidential election.”

President Obama approval on the issue:

  • Economist: 44% of adults approve and 48% disapprove.
  • Reason: 48% of adults approve and 47% disapprove.

Health Care:
According to Rasmussen, 45% of likely voters have a somewhat favorable opinion of the health care law, while 51% view it unfavorably.

Regulation:
According to Reason, 45% adults believe the U.S. needs a strong government right now to handle its current complex economic problems. 49% say Americans themselves would be better able to handle today’s problems within a free market that has less government involvement.

Taxes:
According to the Economist, 18% of adults think their taxes will go up a lot as a result of the fiscal cliff deal; 42% believe they will go up some; 22% believe they will go up a little; and 19% believe they won’t go up at all.

According to Reason, 26% of adults say raising taxes on wealthy would reduce the amount the wealthy would work and invest. 68% say it would not.

According to Rasmussen, 48% of adults believe it is possible to balance the federal budget without raising taxes.

According to the Economist, even though the fiscal cliff deal already raised taxes on them, 56% of adults would support increasing taxes on Americans who earn more than $400,000 a year. 29% would oppose.

According to the Economist, 52% of adults would support raising taxes on Americans who earn between $250,000 and $400,000 a year.

According to Reason, 50% would favor eliminating all tax deductions and credits if it lowered overall rates; 42% would oppose.

According to Reason, 59% would favor eliminating the mortgage tax deduction if it would lower the overall income tax rate; 32% would oppose.

View of Government:
According to Pew, 20% of adults are basically content with the federal government; 58% are frustrated; and 19% are angry.

According to Pew, only 3% of adults trust the federal government to do what is right all of the time; 23% say they trust the federal government most of the time; 67% say only some of the time; and 6% say they never trust the federal goverment to do what is right.

Public Notice is an independent non-profit dedicated to providing facts and insight on the economy and how government policy affects Americans’ financial well-being.