Memorandum: Voters More Concerned with Opportunity
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Date: April 17, 2012
To: Public Notice
From: The Tarrance Group
Re: Findings from April Monitor Survey
The Tarrance Group is pleased to present Public Notice with the key findings from a survey of “likely” voters throughout the country. The survey was conducted via telephone April 9-12, 2012 among N=800 registered “likely” voters. The margin of error on a sample of this type is +/- 3.5%.
Voters continue to hold mainly negative views of the country’s direction and financial situation, as there has been no improvement in voters’ mood on these two key measures. Today, 59% of voters say the country is on the wrong track, and 55% have a “mostly negative” view of the economy. These percentages are identical to those in February.
Optimism is low when it comes to where the economy is headed, as only 32% say it is getting better. A similar percentage say the economy is getting worse (30%), while a plurality (37%) believes the economy is just staying about the same.
With this mind, voters are not expecting the government to improve the economy, as a majority (52%) of voters say the federal government hurts economic growth. Only 38% say growth is helped by the federal government.
Government spending continues to be a top concern of voters. Nearly eight in ten (79%) say the overall level of government spending is extremely or very important to them, and another 79% place the same level of importance on the level of federal debt. Intensity in concern over the debt has increased, with 54% today saying the debt is extremely important compared with 50% in January.
- Concern over spending could be explained by the high level of waste voters perceive in government. When asked to name a percentage, voters say that 47% of each federal dollar is wasted.
Seven in ten (70%) say the U.S. economy is extremely or very impacted by the federal debt level, and nearly half (46%) say their own family is extremely or very impacted by the federal debt level. A total of 88% say their family is at least somewhat impacted by the debt.
After being informed that President Obama has proposed raising taxes on anyone making at least $1 million per year, most voters say any additional revenue from the tax increase should go to paying down the debt and deficit. However, most voters believe President Obama would do the opposite:
While a plurality of Democrats would want President Obama to use the additional revenue to pay down the debt and deficit, and believe that he would do that, Independents do not agree. Along with Republicans, Independents would want the money to pay down the debt and deficit, yet believe President Obama would not do this.
When it comes to tax increases on the wealthy, voters are more concerned about opportunity for the poor and middle class than they are about the rich. A plurality (44%) finds it more concerning that there are too few opportunities for the poor and middle class to become rich, while fewer (39%) find it more concerning that there are too many opportunities for the rich to become richer.
Polling for Public Notice in February found a similar trend – more than six in ten (63%) voters said it is more important for our leaders in Washington to focus on providing more opportunities for the poor and middle class to get ahead, while only 19% said it is more important to focus on increasing taxes on the rich.
To view this memo as a .pdf, click here.