As the GOP in Congress appears about to be taking an "every man for himself" strategy for the fall elections, Gallup has just given the Republicans another gift (Americans Oppose Income Redistribution to Fix Economy). The results of this poll show that if the GOP ever gets back to preaching and adhering to the simple message that they used to have -- one that they've previously ridden to victory on -- they'd be shoe-ins in 2008. Whether or not the Republicans have cleaned their own house enough to take advantage of something like this remains to be seen.
Barack Obama is running on an economic platform that promises to "restore fairness to the tax code". On the same page of his campaign website that that quote came from, Obama also refers to Bush's "Tax Cuts for Wealthy Instead of Middle Class". Put the two of them together and the message that Obama is sending to the public is that he wants to take money from the wealthy and give to the middle class - the very definition of the "Income Redistribution" that this Gallup poll measures public opinion on. Obama doesn't even have to actively do much for this redistribution to happen - all he has to do is let the Bush tax cuts expire.
The numbers in this poll are staggering. Overall, Americans are against the core principle behind Barack Obama's domestic economic policy -- income redistribution -- by an astounding 84% to 13%. Republicans oppose it 90%-9%, Independents oppose it 85% to 13%, and even Democrats oppose it 77% to 19%.
Gallup has been the gold standard of polling for Democrats for decades. These days, the media is continually promoting Obama's theory of "bringing back fairness" to the tax code. In fact, the "tax fairness" war-cry has been at the core of the Democrats' message machine, and has been endlessly promoted by their minions in the media, since 2000. With those facts in mind, these particular poll results are breathtaking. To give you an idea of how important even Gallup thinks this poll is, the explanatory narrative that goes along with the results were written by Dennis Jacobe, Gallup's Chief Economist:
PRINCETON, NJ -- When given a choice about how government should address the numerous economic difficulties facing today's consumer, Americans overwhelmingly -- by 84% to 13% -- prefer that the government focus on improving overall economic conditions and the jobs situation in the United States as opposed to taking steps to distribute wealth more evenly among Americans.
Americans' lack of support for redistributing wealth to fix the economy spans political parties: Republicans (by 90% to 9%) prefer that the government focus on improving the economy, as do independents (by 85% to 13%) and Democrats (by 77% to 19%). This sentiment also extends across income groups: upper-income Americans prefer that the government focus on improving the economy and jobs by 88% to 10%, concurring with middle-income (83% to 16%) and lower-income (78% to 17%) Americans.
In this poll, Gallup also asked another question - is the government, in general, doing too much or too little? While the results on this question aren't quite as dramatic as the results on the income distribution question, the poll still shows that a majority of Americans believe that the government is doing too much (read: screwing it up) as opposed to too little.
A separate question finds Americans more likely to believe government is doing too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses (50%) as opposed to saying government should do more to solve the country's problems (43%). This broad question is not directed specifically at the economy, but reinforces the general idea that many Americans are leery of too much direct government intervention in fixing the country's problems.
Americans of all incomes, social strata, and political affiliations get it -- we can't tax our way out of this, and the government isn't the right entity to save us. The Republican message to Americans -- before the Congressional GOP became the party of pork, earmarks, and corruption -- was to keep taxes low and focus on improving both the economy and job creation by encouraging business to do what they are designed to do and do best - employ people and make money. As for the old "limited government" question - a subject of heated debate even within the ranks of conservatives today -- this poll shows that the public clearly thinks that less government is better government.
Unless I'm mistaken, all of these results show support for - dare I say it - Reagan-brand conservatism. Even after all this time -- after all the liberal garbage that the Democrats and the media relentlessly shove in our faces -- when the public is faced with an economic crisis, Reagan's conservative message of low taxes and limited government still wins.
This poll clearly shows that the conservative message, especially on the economy, has gotten through. What's still unclear, however, is if the current group of Republicans are the right ones to take the GOP back to majority status. The Republicans in Congress have to be united and show some guts, something that they seem reluctant to do. For instance, the report in today's New York Times on the expansion of earmarks (Earmarks Persist in Spending Bills for 2009), especially coming after the Democrats rode to victory in 2006 promising to end them, is particularly embarrassing for the GOP. A true no-brainer, an earmark moratorium by the Republicans would send out a signal of fiscal responsibility to the public during a time of economic crisis that the Democrats would never be able to match, and the media would never be able to cover up. Coupling that with a promise to submit requests for funding all future non-emergency local projects to the appropriate committees to be inserted into the appropriate bills -- where they can be seen and debated by all, including the public -- is a political winner. Why the Republicans haven't taken these simple steps this year is beyond my comprehension.
I don't know what else can be said to convince the GOP to take such logical actions and re-embrace their conservative values, other than to point out the fact that if this bunch of Republican Senators and Congressmen don't get it, perhaps the next bunch will...