Sure to raise some Keynesian hackles, a new poll released today by Rasmussen Reports demonstrates that 66%, or 2 out of 3 American voters, believe that tax cuts are better for job creation. This number has increased notably since January when 59% of voters reported the same view. In contrast, an abysmal 18%, or less than 1 out of 5 voters, think that government spending is better. This is slightly higher than the same January poll in which 15% of voters thought that government spending was better.
What is perplexing is that a higher percentage of people, 69%, say that “it is at least somewhat important” for the government to launch a program aimed at job creation while only 27% say that it is “not very or not important at all.” This question, however, does not gauge in what respect voters view the importance of government spending to job creation. Is it important for state workers? For infrastructure builders? For census workers? Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that poll participants could view government spending as better for private-sector job creation since the overwhelming majority believe that tax cuts — which would apply primarily to the private sector and, in fact, would undercut the availability of government jobs — are better for job creation overall.
This is further evinced by the fact that 55% of voters believe that tax cuts are better for the economy in the long run, while 37% believe that government spending is better for the economy. The evidence suggests, to me at least, that voters probably do favor government spending to create jobs, for instance, as a way to keep school teachers employed and possibly provide temporary jobs to offset a tough economic period. Voters seem highly skeptical, however, that such measures will sustainably improve employment or the health of the economy. In fact, according to Rasmussen, the number of people expecting a higher unemployment rate a year from now has risen to 34% from 29% in December.
What is even more interesting from the report is that unaffiliated voters are second only to Republicans in favoring tax cuts to create jobs and to improve the economy. While 90% of Republicans think tax cuts are better for job creation, so do 69% of unaffiliated voters. This is followed by 39% of Democrats who concur. Sixty-one percent of unaffiliated voters think tax cuts are better for the economy in the long run.