New Poll: Americans Believe Gov’t Spending Doing More Harm Than Good

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Gap Widens with Middle Class Families, Independents & Seniors

Arlington, Va.Public Notice today released the results of a national survey of registered “likely voters” conducted by the Tarrance Group via telephone Sept. 24-27, 2012, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent on the issues of government spending and the economy.  The results showed that by a ratio of 2-to-1, likely voters believe federal government spending is doing more harm than good.

On the question of whether federal government spending has improved the overall economy, 74 percent say it has not helped, with 52 percent responding that it has actually hurt the economy.  When asked how federal government spending has impacted personal financial situations, 86 percent of those surveyed say it has not helped, with 35 percent responding that it hurt.  Furthermore, the view that government spending is making the economy and personal financial situations worse increases when looking specifically at “target voters” in key demographics such as middle class families, Independents and seniors.

Gretchen Hamel, executive director of Public Notice, issued the following statement regarding the poll:

“It’s clear to the vast majority of Americans that the reckless and wasteful government spending we’ve seen from Washington has not only failed to improve the economy, it’s making things worse.  Voters understand that our $16 trillion national debt is dragging down our nation’s economy and taking their personal finances with it.  With debt and spending now a top issue in this election, the debate from here on out should be focused on which candidate has the most credible plan to reduce spending and the debt and get our fiscal house in order.”

Key Findings:

  • Three-quarters (74%) of voters do not believe federal government spending has helped the economy, and 86% do not believe government spending has helped their own personal financial situation.  This pessimism over the impact of government spending is consistent throughout many key demographic groups that are frequently mentioned as “target” voters in the upcoming presidential election.
  • Nearly-three quarters of both men (75%) and women (72%) do not believe government spending has helped the economy, along with 8 in 10 (80%) seniors.  A majority (54%) of seniors say spending has “hurt” the economy.
  • Also, a majority of Independents (55%) and married women (59%) believe government spending has hurt the economy.  Three-quarters (76%) of middle class families do not believe spending has helped the economy, with 58% believing government spending has actually hurt the economy.
  • Men (86%) and women (86%) equally do not believe government spending has helped their personal financial situation.  Just 9% of Independents and seniors and 12% of married women and middle class families say government spending has helped their personal finances.

Here’s the full memo.