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


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.

Want to read more?

Become a Rasmussen Reader to read the article

Have an account?

Log In

Become a Reader


Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.

We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.

Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.

To learn more about our methodology, click here.