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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Public Opinion and Political Strategy: Ruy Teixeira on Attitudes Toward Obama’s Economic Recovery Plan

TDS co-editor Ruy Teixeira has a new post up at the Center for American Progress website, “Public Opinion Snapshot: Public Strongly Supports Economic Recovery Plan.” Teixeira’s analysis of data from a Diageo/Hotline poll conducted 1/21-24 debunks the GOP myth that voters prefer tax cuts to government spending as a strategy for addressing the current economic crisis:

Conservatives showed remarkable unanimity this week in opposing President Obama’s stimulus plan. Their reasons? Too much spending, too few tax cuts, too big an effect on the deficit. In taking this position, they’re trying to pose as the true friends of U.S. taxpayers.
There’s only one problem: The taxpayers themselves actually support the plan and seem unfazed by the very things the conservatives are complaining so loudly about.
A recent Diageo/Hotline poll asked half of the sample whether they supported an $825 billion plan “even if it means increasing the federal budget deficit in order to do so.” That query elicited a 20-point margin (54-34) in favor
This shows that the public favors the recovery and reinvestment plan even with the price tag and even when it is stipulated that the plan will increase the deficit…

Even better, Teixeira adds:

But what about the thing that really gets conservatives upset—the fact that there’s twice as much new spending as tax cuts? Well, the Diageo/Hotline poll asked the other half of the sample the same question as above, but specified how the money was divided between spending and tax cuts. The result? Support for the stimulus ballooned to a roughly 40-point margin (66-27).
The conservatives aren’t just reading from a different page of the book than the public—they appear to be reading from a completely different book. Some things evidently haven’t changed since George W. Bush left town.

Clearly, conservative members of congress, and even some moderates who want more tax cuts and less spending, should no longer entertain the delusion that they are guided by public support.

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