In case you thought US voters were any different than their euro counterparts:

61% Believe Europe Needs to Cut Government Spending to Save Economy

May 9 (Bloomberg) — Newly elected leaders in France and Greece have signaled that austerity efforts in their countries may be coming to an end, but as far as Americans are concerned, that’s a move in the wrong direction. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 61% of American Adults believe cuts in government spending would do more to improve the economic and financial situation in France and Greece than increases in that spending. Just 20% think more government spending is the better way to go. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The survey of 1,000 Americans nationwide was conducted on May 7-8, 2012 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.

23 Responses

  1. Great blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
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  2. 21 percent of people in Poland believe that Russians assassinated Polish president Kaczynski 2 years ago.


    Conspiracy theories included creating artificial fog, releasing a huge amount of helium (which is lighter than air) in order to bring the plane down.

    Not to mention how many people in the US believe in creationism.

    In that context the fact that 60% of the people believe in incorrect economic theories peddled on universities and in mass media is not surprising at all. As long as nobody follows mass delusions leading to killing of millions of people (what happened in Europe twice during 20th century) – everything is perfectly “normal”…

  3. People are susceptible to propaganda … not a surprise unfortunately. In so many ways we seem to have returned to the late 1920’s. In that case the depression and WWII jolted the American economy into a different pattern, but we slowly returned to a situation very like 1929. Maybe that is the natural state of the US culture … a high concentration of wealth at the upper end.

      1. @WARREN MOSLER,

        Also, let formal Oratory and/or Debate societies set the terms & actually moderate debates. Present political debate & campaigning descends from existing public debate, rather than elevating & focusing it.

        Donations would be well spent on setting the terms & quality of debate, not just endless propaganda which serves no discernable Public Purpose.

      2. @WARREN MOSLER,

        Why not just allow unlimited donations and leave it at that? The return on each marginal dollar above a relatively small amount of campaign spending is minuscule, so both campaigns would quickly saturate.

        The most important thing in my opinion is to allow a political outsider to be able to “buy” name recognition, which simply gets him in the game. That would hardly guarantee victory.

        How many votes did Bloomberg’s second tranche of $50MM of spending on the NY mayoral race net him?

        It’s the restrictions on campaign finance which give the advantage to the connected politicians. When it costs $10 in resources to raise $1 in unrestricted funds, outsiders have little chance.

      3. @ESM,
        The return on each marginal dollar above a relatively small amount of campaign spending is minuscule

        But it’s not the case the return on each marginal dollar donated is minuscule for the donator.

      4. @ESM,


        Very good point! But how to remedy that problem? I know, how about by making politicians less powerful, so it’s not as easy for them to reward donors?

  4. Of course our Euro-counterparts in France just elected a Socialist who is opposed to continued ‘austerity’ … or is he?

  5. 61% vs “75% [in Europe] still support the euro” ?
    that implies ~14% are more sensible on this matter, here vs Europe?

    ps: “survey of 1,000 Americans” out of 312 million?
    call me when the survey’s been replicated 3000 times

    is this kind of survey like fractional reserve options exploration? 🙂

    with a group intelligence that good, you don’t want to tap it all at once! 🙁

    1. @roger erickson,

      “call me when the survey’s been replicated 3000 times”

      What’s the matter? You don’t believe in sampling?

      The problem with polls isn’t the sample size. It’s that the poll questions themselves are usually ambiguous or at best create their own selection biases in terms of who responds.

      Basically, I don’t trust polls unless they’re asking specifically who the respondents are going to vote for. All other surveys have to be taken with a large shaker of salt.

      1. @ESM,

        “Which would do more to improve the economic and financial situation in France and Greece – more government spending or cuts in government spending?”

        That was the question. It equates the effect on the economic situation with the effect on the “financial situation” – presumably the government’s income and expenses, balance sheet, and ability to service its debt.

        By any “standard” economic theory, the two effects are opposite. More spending (with no change in tax receipts, one is expected to assume?) would help the economy, but move the government closer to default. But, then, default is the only way out of debt for non-monetarily-sovereign entities with debt that they cannot service, so maybe that is also an “improvement” in their financial situation. That seems to have been the case in Greece, or at least the purpose of their default.

        I don’t know how I would have answered the question. “Ambiguous” is being generous.

        And I’m not sure how MMT would have answered the question, if constrained to a simple “more” or “less”. Of course, more money from the ECB is the solution to both the economic and financial problems, but for a non-monetarily-sovereign government it is quite the dilemma.

      2. @ESM,

        It was a joke.

        But yes, sampling means nothing without statistical significance, which in reality requires significant accounting for sub-context.

        Sampling 1000 people at WalMarts across the USA is not the same as sampling 1000 financial advisors, or physicists, or people who have read Warren’s book.

        Show me a propagandist who wants to delve into why their patron wants to see a given result. Surveys are as suspect as jury selection. The results are useless without accompanying error estimates, which are themselves unknowable with certainty, and hence nearly useless.

        Who took a survey, for whom, and why often tells you more than the survey results themselves, which are titrated to provide a plausible version of the desired answer at the least cost.

      3. @Roger Erickson,

        “But yes, sampling means nothing without statistical significance, which in reality requires significant accounting for sub-context.”

        Hmmm. I’m still not sure you’re on-board with a scientifically sound technique. These surveys are usually done by randomly dialing phone numbers across the US. If there is a selection bias, it is only in who answers the phone and who is willing to stay on the phone to answer the survey questions. Pollsters check for this selection bias by asking other standard questions for which they they think they know the US breakdown (actually, they also ask for the number of different phone lines that person has). Other than selection bias, a sample size of 1000 is more than sufficient for a yes/no question. Warren’s excerpt even contained the margin of error.

        I become skeptical when the question is not a simple one about for whom one plans to vote (the selection bias in such polls, by the way, is tested rigorously each election day).

        I remember a completely worthless poll a couple of years ago run by Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos where they asked self-identified Republicans ridiculous questions like “Should President Obama be impeached?” right off the bat. Which makes pretty much all the reasonable people hang up the phone, since it is obviously a completely moonbatty poll that is only going to get worse.

        Of course, as it turns out, the polling firm Kos was using was completely fraudulent and just making up numbers out of whole cloth. But even the design of the poll was hopelessly flawed.

  6. Just shows you what happens when you don’t put enough money into the education system.

    Did they do a similar survey on the prevalence of witchcraft and the effectiveness of ducking stools at routing out witches?

    1. @Neil Wilson,

      No, but thanks a lot for suggesting the hot button theme for our next election! The RNC has accepted your suggestion and is doing consumer testing at WalMart. Thanks for nothing! 🙁

      ps: here’s a hot tip for Fleet St. Murdoch has remote access to the sensors under the table where Cameron & Rebekah met. I won’t go into details – except that intelligence is not the prime determinant of political pandering. As Disraeli noted, a well educated populous just uses shovels to pander more “artfully”.

      We’re always missing the emerging adaptive pressures that initially seem completely orthogonal to policy & public purpose. SW programmers quickly learn this, but then blithely assume that people can be as easily programmed! Go figure. Our situational awareness is always a day late and a fiat short of emerging situations – so we will defend to the death our right to deny that fact and keep our current jobs. All the way down, until misery can’t stand any more company.

    2. @Neil Wilson,

      “Just shows you what happens when you don’t put enough money into the education system.”

      Ah, yes. A government run system fails, and what do you recommend? Throw more money at it!

      1. @ESM,

        A system (run by government or anyone else) fails, therefor no more money should be thrown at it? I’m glad that logic wasn’t applied when the first attempt at powered flight failed. Same goes for ten thousand other “systems” that failed at the first, second, third…. attempt.

      2. @Ralph Musgrave,

        You need to view my post in the context of a prior exchange I had with Neil. My point was that there is no natural selection process for government programs. They never have to end even if they are failures. And the natural instinct of big government types is to throw more money at failures because it’s all OPM (“other people’s money”) anyway.

      3. @Ralph Musgrave,

        And another thing. Don’t you think it’s completely off-base to blame the lack of understanding of MMT throughout our society on the fact that our educational system is underfunded? Are there teachers out there saying “Boy, I would really like to explain MMT to my students, but I just don’t have enough resources to do it?”

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