Bi-Weekly Public Opinion: Do we know what our government does for us?
by The Opportunity Agenda, Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 03:21:39 PM EDT
Low awareness of role of federal agencies and Tea Party fever With examples from widespread frustration about tax day and the census, we can get an idea as to the confusion that many Americans have regarding the role of the government agencies and actions and their benefits and roles. According to a survey by Ipsos, 65% of American adults think that the government does not do an adequate job of communicating its agencies services and benefits. When asked about particular agencies, respondents were more aware of these Federal agencies, but still unsure of their role and services. From the list of six agencies that the survey tested, the Federal Trade Commission was viewed least favorably as well as Americans being most confused over its role. However, once voters were exposed to more information about the agencies, they increasingly realized the daily influence of the agencies and viewed them more positively. These findings may yield good advice for the government. In increasing awareness about the impact of federal agencies and the benefits that they give to American citizens, support and satisfaction may increase.
Beyond being confused about the government’s impact on daily activities, with the rise and attention to the Tea-Party movement, there has been a focus on anti-government sentiment. Tea- Party and the Government In a poll published today (CBS/NYT), which aimed at identifying the views of the Tea-Party movement, 94% of Tea-Party supporters said they are dissatisfied or angry with the what is conspiring in D.C., 96% disapprove of how Congress is doing its job and over nine-in-ten would also prefer a smaller government. Almost six-in-ten (56%) Tea Partiers say that Obama's policies favor the poor, compared to 27% of the general American public. However, there are some Federal programs that gained support from Tea Partiers, particularly when they were beneficiaries of the service. Almost half of Tea-party supporters have someone in their household that received benefits from Medicare or Social Security. These supporters were more likely to have a positive view of these programs than their peers. Tea-Party supporters are a largely homogenous crowd that does not demographically represent the spectrum of Americans. Tea-Partiers are majorly composed of white- older Christian men, and half of them consider themselves middle class. The members of movement, which rallied together by opposing the stimulus bill, were more likely to be retired (32%) compared to the general public (18%), and less likely to be temporarily out of work (6% v 15%). Tea-Partiers may be more firmly against government spending to fight unemployment because they are less likely to be actively searching in the job market. However, the need for jobs and economic support has not disappeared in our nation. In fact, a mid-March tracking poll (DC) found that minorities, young voters, and unmarried women were hit hardest by the recession. America as a whole, many are still feeling the effects of the recession. In a month there was more job loss, more wage and hour reduction, and loss of health coverage; people are 70% of the American public is still feeling negative about the state of the economy. Subsequently there are also fewer people who found jobs or are re-entering the job market. 95% of Americans still think that the employment situation is a crisis or major problem facing our country. Compared to the general public, Tea- Party supporters are disproportionally likely to favor lowering the federal deficit as a priority over creating jobs. However, as tracking polls have shown it is minorities, unmarried women and young people, who are largely underrepresented in the Tea-Party that are in need of relief from disproportionate unemployment effecting them. Source: (CBS/NYT) 75% of tea-party supporters think that Obama doesn’t share the values of most Americans. However, 57% of the American public thinks that Obama does share the values of most Americans. In terms of race, Tea-Partiers were more likely (73% compared to 60%) to say that both whites and blacks have an equal chance of getting ahead in society. TP supporters were also less likely to say that whites had an advantage in society (16% to 31%), 89% of Tea-Party supporters are white. Over half of Tea-Party members say that too big of a deal is made of black issues, compared with 28% of the American public that feels the same. Read more at The Opportunity Agenda website.