If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.

 

NOVEMBER 2010

  • 51% Say Leaking of U.S. Secrets Is Treason

    Most voters believe public release of U.S. secret and confidential documents hurts national security, and they consider the leaking of such information to be an act of treason.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 72% of Likely Voters say that when media outlets release secret government documents, they are hurting national security rather than providing a public service.  Only 14% believe the opposite is true and that the media is serving the public. Just as many (14%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

    In August, following the publication of secret U.S. documents related to the war in Afghanistan on the WikiLeaks Internet site, 67% of U.S. voters said the release of this kind of information hurts national security, while 19% believed it provided a public service.

    Fifty-one percent (51%) of voters consider the leaking of these classified documents an act of treason.  Twenty-eight percent (28%) disagree and do not think leaking such information is treasonous.  Another 21% are undecided.

    (Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls).  Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook

    The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted November 29-30, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

  • Voters Question U.S. Protection of Secrets Following WikiLeaks’ Disclosure

    Voters are strongly concerned about the impact of the latest dump of sensitive and secret U.S. data on the Internet by the WikiLeaks organization and think the U.S. government needs to do a better job protecting that kind of information.

    Just 29% of Likely U.S. Voters think, generally speaking, that the American government does a good job of protecting its secrets. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 46% disagree while another 25% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
     

    Seventy-nine percent (79%) are at least somewhat concerned that the WikiLeaks release of classified documents will harm national security, with 47% who are Very Concerned. Only 18% are not very or not at all concerned about the national security implications of the public airing of the U.S. secrets.
     

    Two-out-of-three voters (67%) said in late July following WikiLeaks’ release of secret U.S. information related to the war in Afghanistan that the disclosure hurt national security. 
     

    (Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls).  Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.
     

    The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted November 29-30, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

    Which party's voters are most critical of how the government protects its secrets? Is this an issue that the Political Class and Mainstream voters see eye-to-eye on? Become a  Platinum member and find out.

  • By Two-to-One Margin, Voters Believe U.S. Spends More on Military than Social Security

    Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters believe the U.S. spends more on national defense than it does on Social Security.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters finds that 24% disagree and hold the opposite view while 29% are not sure.

    In reality, the expenditure for both items is similar and the precise answer depends upon accounting issues and time frames.

    For Fiscal Year 2011, the Defense Department budget is projected to total $719 billion. That’s below the $792 billion for Social Security. However, if you add in the $124 billion projected for Veterans’ Affairs, the total for national security spending tops Social Security.

    (Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

    The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 19-20, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

  • Most Voters Favor Cutting the Federal Payroll

    President Obama proposed today a freeze on the salaries of federal employees for the next two years as an effort to help rein in the growing federal budget deficit.  Recent Rasmussen surveys suggest that voters think that's a good idea.

    Just last week, two-thirds (66%) of Likely Voters nationwide favored a proposal to cut the federal payroll by 10% over the coming decade.  Just 22% were opposed, and 12% were not sure. It is important to note that the survey question proposed reductions of one percent (1%) annually for 10 years and could largely be met by attrition rather than laying off large numbers of workers.

    The federal government currently employs approximately 2.1 million people, including 1.4 million civilian employees. During 2010, the number of federal employees grew to the highest level ever, and the president had been requesting a 1.4% pay raise for the federal workforce in 2011.

    Republicans (79%) and unaffiliated voters (74%) overwhelming favor a plan to cut the federal payroll by 10% over the next 10 years. Democrats are less enthusiastic: 48% of those in President Obama’s party favor the concept, while 39% are opposed.

    (Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls).  Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

  • Most Flyers Okay With Full-Body Scans, Pat Downs

    Most voters who fly appear comfortable with the federal Transportation Safety Administration’s new airport security measures.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, taken Sunday night at the close of the Thanksgiving holiday travel weekend, finds that 51% rate airline security as good or excellent, while just 16% view it as poor.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

    Seventy-five percent (75%) of voters who fly at least once a year think it is appropriate to require some passengers to have either a full-body scan or full-body pat down before boarding an airliner. Eighteen percent (18%) disagree and say such measures are not appropriate.

    Support for the techniques is even higher among those who fly once a month or more often.

    In January, just after an unsuccessful terrorist bombing attempt on an airliner landing in Detroit, 71% of Americans favored the use of full-body scanners at airports.

    (Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls).  Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

    The survey of 354 Likely Voters Who Fly At Least Once A Year was conducted on November 28, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

    ?Do regular flyers think airport security is too strict or not strict enough? How do they feel about profiling as a security measure? Become a Platinum member and find out. 

  • Voters Recognize U.S. Military Spending Tops Other Countries

    Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Likely Voters nationwide recognize that the United States spends more on the military and national security than any other nation in the world. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 19% disagree, and 24% are not sure.

    Seventy percent (70%) of those in the Political Class recognize this is true, as do 55% of Mainstream Americans. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

    Men are more likely to recognize it than women, Democrats and voters not affiliated with either party more than Republicans.

    While it is impossible to measure precisely, according to many estimates, the United States spends about as much on national security as every other nation in the world combined. Thirty-three percent (33%) of voters believe the United States spends more than every other nation combined; 29% say it does not, and 37% are not sure.

     (Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

     The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 19-20, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

  • Voters Say It’s Important Who’s In Congress, Who Runs Congress

    Voters are overwhelmingly clear: they want to believe that elections make a difference. But they remain deeply skeptical about the new Congress.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 81% of Likely U.S. Voters think it matters who represents them in Congress. Just nine percent (9%) say that it’s not important who their congressional representative is. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

    Seventy-three percent (73%) of voters also believe it matters which political party controls Congress. Nineteen percent (19%) disagree and say it doesn’t matter which party is in power.

    But voters are more narrowly divided when asked about the quality of the representation they have in Congress. Forty percent (40%) say their current representative is the best person for the job, but 38% disagree. Twenty-two percent (22%) aren’t sure.

    And, despite the belief that it matters who wins on Election Day, voters have little confidence in what their elected politicians will do. Only about one-in-five voters are optimistic about what Congress will accomplish when it comes to taxes, government spending, cleaning up corruption, and immigration.

    Fifty-nine percent (59%), in fact, think it is at least somewhat likely most voters will be disappointed with Republicans in Congress before the next national elections in 2012, with 38% who say it is Very Likely. 

    (Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

    The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 21-22, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

  • Election 2010 Helped Voters Understand Federal Budget a Bit Better

    Forty-one percent (41%) of voters now recognize that the majority of federal spending goes to just national defense, Social Security and Medicare. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 39% disagree and say it’s not true, while 20% are not sure.

    Federal budget documents provided by the Obama administration confirm this fact and show that the share of the budget consumed by these items and interest on the federal debt continues to grow.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

    In February of this year, before the campaign season began, just 35% knew that national defense spending, Social Security and Medicare made up a majority of all federal spending. Forty-four percent (44%) said it was not true.

    So somehow despite all the noise and fury of the election season, there has been a net increase in public understanding of the budget. However, the data suggests that there’s still a very long way to go.

    “Anybody who wants to talk about cutting federal spending and changing the federal budget must first gain an understanding of where the money is being spent,” notes Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. “Over the past several decades, politicians from both political parties have worked overtime to hide the truth from voters, and that has led to the voter frustration roiling the land in 2010.”

    (Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

    The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 19-20, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted byPulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

  • Many Say Government Now Operating Outside the Constitution

    Voters are clearly dubious about the size and scope of today’s federal government.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 39% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the federal government currently operates within the limits established by the Constitution of the United States.

    Forty-four percent (44%) disagree and say it is not functioning within those limits, while another 17% aren’t sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

    Earlier surveys have shown that just one-in-five voters believe that the government today has the consent of the governed. Forty-eight percent (48%) see the government as a threat to individual rights. According to the Declaration of Independence, governments are formed to protect certain inalienable rights.

    Most Americans think the Constitution is just fine the way it is and should be left alone. But 39% say the governing document doesn’t put enough restrictions on what the government can do.

    As is often the case, there’s a wide gap between the perceptions of the Political Class and those of Mainstream voters when it comes to the federal government. Eighty-three percent (83%) of Political Class voters say the government now operates within constitutional limits, but 62% of those in the Mainstream don’t share that view.

    One aspect of the Constitution that is frequently challenged is its protection for freedom of speech. But 85% of voters say, generally speaking, that the constitutional protection of speech is a good thing for the United States. Only six percent (6%) disagree.

    (Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

    The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 21-22, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

  • Two-Thirds Favor Cutting Federal Payroll by 10%

    Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters nationwide favor a proposal to cut the federal payroll by 10% over the coming decade. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found that just 22% are opposed and 12% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

    Earlier surveys found that 46% believe government employees make more money than comparable workers in the private sector.

    Only 15% say government workers make less than similar private sector workers.

    In addition to believing that government workers are paid more, voters overwhelmingly believe those on the public payroll have more job security but don’t work as hard as their counterparts in the private sector.

    The federal government currently employs approximately 2.1 million people, including 1.4 million civilian employees. During 2010, the number of federal employees grew to the highest level ever, and the president is requesting a 1.4% pay raise for the federal workforce in 2011. A very slight reduction in the number of federal employees is expected in 2011 as the Census process winds down.

    USA Today reports that the average federal worker’s pay and benefits totalled $123,049 in 2009, while on average private workers made $61,051 in total compensation.

    (Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

    The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 19-20, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

    A 10% reduction in federal payroll costs would lead to direct annual savings of approximately $25 billion a year. However, if no change is made, the federal payroll would continue to grow by approximately $80 billion over the coming decade (assuming growth rates similar to the past decade).

    So the combination of direct savings and elimination of expected increases would lead to direct savings of more than $100 billion annually. Additional saving would likely be generated as well as a smaller workforce would probably lead to the elimination or reduction of some government programs. A smaller workforce also would require less spending on supplies, training and support.

    How do Democrats feel about cutting the federal workforce? Are younger voters more enthusiastic or less enthusiastic about the idea than their elders? Become a Platinum member and find out.