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Election 2010 Helped Voters Understand Federal Budget a Bit Better

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

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.”

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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.


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