President Obama is expected to call for targeted new government spending for education, transportation and technological innovation in his State of the Union speech tonight, but voters are lukewarm to the idea.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 39% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the federal government spending more money in areas like education, transportation and technological innovation. Forty-five percent (45%) oppose additional government spending like this, while 15% more are not sure about it. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Two-out-of-three Democrats (67%) like the idea of more government spending – or “investment” as the president refers to it – in areas like education, transportation and technology. Sixty-four percent (64%) of Republicans and 53% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties are opposed to this new spending.
Nearly half (47%) of all voters continue to believe that cutting federal spending will do more to help the economy than increasing federal spending in areas like education, transportation and technological innovation. Thirty-three percent (33%) disagree and think increased spending in these areas will help the economy more. Twenty-one percent (21%) are not sure which course would be best.
But 51% of voters say new government programs to make the United States more competitive in the world economy will create more jobs than cutting federal spending. Thirty-eight percent (38%) believe cutting spending is a more likely job creator instead.
The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on January 23 – 24, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Sixty-eight percent (68%) of voters prefer a government with fewer services and lower taxes rather than a more active one with more services and higher taxes, consistent with findings with months. Yet despite the Republican takeover of the House, voters still expect government spending, taxes and the deficit to go up over the next two years.
Seventy-one percent (71%) of GOP voters and the plurality (49%) of unaffiliateds think cutting federal spending would help the economy more than increased federal spending in areas like education, transportation and technological innovation. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of those in the president’s party feel otherwise, however, and say the increased spending would make better economic sense.
Eighty-two percent (82%) of Democrats and unaffiliated voters by a 47% to 41% margin believe new government programs to make America more competitive in the world economy are more likely to create jobs. Sixty-four percent (64%) of Republicans feel cutting federal spending would be more likely to create jobs.
As is frequently the case, there is a wide difference of opinion between the Political Class and Mainstream voters on all of these questions. Fifty-one percent (51%) of Political Class voters favor more federal government spending for education, transportation and technology; 53% of those in the Mainstream do not.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Mainstream voters believe cutting federal spending would do more to help the economy, while nearly half (49%) of the Political Class think increased federal spending for education, transportation and technological innovation would do more.
By a 50% to 41% margin, Mainstream voters believe cutting federal spending is more likely to create jobs. Eighty-one percent (81%) of Political Class voters, on the other hand, see more job creation through new government programs to make the United States more competitive n the world economy.
Voters now trust the GOP more than Democrats on all 10 of the most important issues regularly surveyed by Rasmussen Reports including the economy, health care, taxes and national security.
A sizable number (79%) of voters plan to follow Obama’s State of the Union speech, but most also acknowledge that presidents generally don’t accomplish most of what they promise in their annual addresses to the nation.
It’s a tie game when you ask voters which they are more interested in watching – the State of the Union speech tonight or the upcoming Super Bowl.
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