Rasmussen Questions Media's Take on Spending Cut Polls

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Revmitchell

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    Feb 18, 2006
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    Pollster Scott Rasmussen is questioning the media's interpretation of polling data that suggest the American public oppose spending cuts and favor spending increases for a variety of programs. In fact, Rasmussen says, Americans favor spending cuts. The misinterpretation, he says, is a result of the fact that the public and the political class interpret the word "cut" differently: in Washington, holding spending steady is defined as a "cut."

    In a recent, widely reported Pew Research Center poll, Rasmussen notes, a majority of Americans wanted to increase funding or maintain it at current levels for 18 out of 19 programs (the exception being foreign aid for the needy overseas). They were opposed to spending cuts, in the plain English meaning of the word--i.e. they did not want lower spending. But for most of those programs, he observes, a plurality wants to maintain spending at current levels--i.e. more people want to maintain current spending levels than to increase it or decrease it.

    In Washington, Rasmussen observes, keeping spending at current levels is defined as a spending cut, since budgets are assumed to increase year-on-year. So, in fact, "the Pew data shows [sic] that voters prefer what the politicians call budget cuts in 17 out of 19 programs." Yet the data were reported as if voters were opposed to spending cuts. In effect, he says, "[t]he questions were asked using the language of America, but they were reported using the language of the Political Class." And the political class got exactly the wrong message.


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