Editor’s note: This is another in a series of “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
Two out of three voters across the political spectrum say they are more likely to support a presidential or congressional candidate who promises to freeze the debt limit and stop borrowing more money; that is, simply stop the nation’s red ink.
The stunning results come as all major GOP candidates have at some point addressed the profligate spending by Barack Obama, under whose direction the U.S. national debt has surged by some $5 trillion – so far.
The sentiment was revealed by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies in a poll conducted by telephone for WND Feb. 1-3. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.44 percentage points.
More than 48 percent of respondents, including 29 percent of the Democrats and nearly 65 percent of the Republicans, said they were much more likely to support a candidate who wants to freeze the debt and stop borrowing. Another 19 percent said they more somewhat more likely.
The dramatic impact of a freeze, because of the demands Obama’s programs have put on the budget, likely could create the need to close down entire federal bureaucracies.
It’s also the direction for the nation advocated by the updated and expanded “No More Red Ink” campaign created by WND founder Joseph Farah.
On the other side of the fence, only 20 percent of the respondents said they were less likely to support such a candidate.
Fritz Wenzel, whose organization does the polling for WND, said, “Overwhelming majorities of Americans believe there should be firm restrictions placed on the federal government’s ability to borrow to force Washington to spend less money, even if that means massive cutbacks in federal agencies. They also will vote overwhelmingly for candidates for president and congressional offices who promised to impose such cuts on the national government.”
He continued, “Whether it is the continuing weak economy, their own pressing personal debt problems, or reports of the social unrest that out-of-control government spending in Europe has caused over there, Americans appear to have finally realized that we as a nation can no longer afford a federal government that spends trillions more than it takes in. The idea that we would never have to really face consequences for deficit spending has finally been dispelled, and people are now expressing concern that their very way of life – and especially the future prosperity of their children – will be adversely affected by what politicians in Washington are doing today.”
He said the issue had been brought up nominally during the 2010 midterm elections, “but financial issues have faded somewhat recently as some Republican candidates for president savage each other over personal, not policy, grievances.”
Wenzel said the new poll “shows that the voters are ahead of most politicians on the question of mounting public debt, and those candidates who make it their hallmark stand to gain substantially.”
More than half the respondents “strongly agree” that the federal government’s borrowing authority should be frozen, forcing Washington to spend less. Another 17 percent “somewhat agree.”
“What’s more, 64 percent said they favor more than $1 trillion in budget cuts, knowing such cuts could include the elimination of entire federal bureaucracies. Even among Democrats, 46 percent support at least $1 trillion in cuts, compared to 36 percent who oppose cuts, a clear indication that this issue could be the powerhouse issue of the 2012 election,” Wenzel said.
“This split among Democrats on the question comes as the two wings of the party battle over more spending to offer stimulus to the economy. Clearly, those on the left wing who favor more government spending to boost the economy have lost the argument, this poll suggests, in large part because the profligate spending of the early Obama administration when Democrats controlled Congress did nothing to help the economy recover,” Wenzel said.
He said voters stopped such practices during the 2010 midterms when they elected a GOP majority in the U.S. House, whose members wouldn’t let the Democrats have a free rein with the checkbook.
“With that road block in the way, Democrats have nowhere to run. Their only salvation will come at the hands of Republicans if the GOP chooses not to make the deficit the center of their fall campaigns,” Wenzel said.
“Democrats are like fish in a barrel, and they have given the Republicans all of the ammunition to sweep the fall election. It’s entirely up to the Republicans whether they want to use it to win massive majorities in November, or whether they walk away from what is clearly the most powerful issue now on the political landscape,” he said.
He said the strength of the argument is evidenced by the fact that 66 percent of independents favor the cuts in government spending.
“Should the economy improve noticeably, the recession will recede as a powerful tool for the Republicans in the November election, leaving the issue of out-of-control Washington spending standing as the lone powerful indictment against the Obama administration and congressional Democratic incumbents, especially Senate Democrats, 22 of which have their seats up for grabs in the election,” Wenzel said.
Wenzel noted that Republican candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas already has offered a plan to cut $1 trillion from the federal budget in his first year in office.
That idea drew the support of 58 percent of the respondents in the latest poll, while only 28 percent opposed it.
“But the survey showed the message is a powerful one regardless of the messenger, as 61 percent said other candidates should adopt the Ron Paul promise to make steep cuts in the federal budget. And, asked whether they would support candidates who put forth such a proposal, 68 percent said they would be more likely to do so, while just 21 percent said they would be less likely to support such candidates,” Wenzel said.
“Clearly, 2012 will be the year of the budget-cutting candidates, if only they will use this message in their campaigns. What brings additional power to this idea that government is far too large and intrusive are anecdotal stories in the news that come out from time to time to cement the longstanding public perception that government is inept, inefficient, and even self-serving. Such was the case lately when the public learned that federal employees earn far more in pay and benefits than those in the private sector. This is easy pickings for the candidates who choose to use them for maximum political benefit this year,” Wenzel said.
See detailed results of survey questions:
Would you favor such a freeze in the government’s ability to borrow more money, knowing it would result in spending cuts totaling more than $1 trillion and would likely result in the elimination of entire bureaucracies in Washington?