Americans don’t paint a pretty picture of their public servants
new national Reason-Rupe poll. Americans tell Reason-Rupe that
75 percent of all politicians are “corrupted” by campaign donations
and lobbyists. And they say 70 percent of politicians use
their political power to help their friends and hurt their
No wonder just 17 percent approve of the job Congress is
doing. Or that President Obama’s approval rating is just 43
percent, with 51 percent disapproving.
And while the Supreme Court just struck down limits on campaign
contributions to federal candidates, the new Reason-Rupe poll finds
Americans are actually more concerned about how elected officials
misuse their power and taxpayer money once they’re in office than
they are worried about campaign contributions.
Asked, which is a “more serious” problem — “special interest
groups spending private money on campaigns to elect the politicians
they favor” or “elected officials enacting policies and spending
taxpayer money that benefit the special interests they favor” — 63
percent of Americans said officials enacting policies and spending
taxpayer money for special interests was a more serious
Similarly, Americans say they are “more bothered” by politicians
abusing political power than they are by some of the personal
issues most often associated with political downfalls.
Seventy percent of Americans say they would be “most bothered” by a
politician who used his or her political power to bully someone,
while 14 percent would be most bothered by a politician using
drugs, and 11 percent would be most bothered by a politician who
cheated on his/her spouse.
The Reason-Rupe national poll conducted live interviews
with 1,003 Americans on mobile (503) and landline (500) phones from
March 26-30, 2014. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.6
percent. Princeton Survey Research Associates International
executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey.
Paying NCAA Basketball Players
With the Final Four approaching, just 42 percent of Americans
say college athletes should be paid. However, when they learn the
NCAA makes over $700 million a year from the television broadcast
rights to the NCAA basketball tournament, 50
percent of Americans tell Reason-Rupe that college basketball
players should receive a share of the television revenue. And
64 percent of Americans say college athletes should receive some of
the revenue when their jerseys are sold or likenesses are used in
video games or on merchandise.
Flight 370 Conspiracy Theories
With Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 still missing, there are no
shortages of theories about what happened. Reason-Rupe
percent of Americans think a mechanical problem caused the plane to
crash, 22 percent believe the pilots crashed the plane
intentionally, 12 percent feel it was destroyed by terrorists, 9
percent say the plane landed safely and is in hiding, 5 percent
believe the disappearance is related to supernatural or alien
activity, and 3 percent think it was shot down by a foreign
Trusting the IRS, NSA and Facebook
The NSA topped Facebook when Americans were asked who is most
likely to violate their privacy.Thirty-six
percent of Americans said the NSA was most likely to violate their
trust, 26 percent said Facebook, 18 percent said the IRS and 12
percent said Google.
But when it comes to whom the public would trust the most with
their personal information, 35 percent said the Internal Revenue
Service, 18 percent said the NSA, 10 percent said Google and just 5
percent said they trust Facebook the most with their privacy.
Tax Returns and Government Waste
Americans may trust the IRS more than Facebook, but with the
April 15 deadline for filing federal income tax returns
approaching, they’re reminded of how much money they send to the
government. Asked open-ended how much of every tax dollar is
median answer was half, 50 cents.
This time of year also reminds Americans of the overly
complicated tax code. Sixty-two percent of Americans say they’d
favor switching to a flat tax. When asked open-ended what
they’d set the flat tax to, Americans said 15 percent (median).
Affordable Care Act
Fifty-three percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the
Affordable Care Act, while 36 percent have a favorable view of
the law in this Reason-Rupe poll.
Forty-three percent of Americans say they will blame the federal
health care law if their health care premiums increase or their
health care plan changes in the next year. Twenty-six percent say
they’ll blame health insurance companies, 17 percent would blame
the economy and 5 percent would blame their employers.
Reason-Rupe finds 67 percent of Americans favor increasing
the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
Fifty-one percent would still support raising the minimum wage,
even if they had to pay higher prices as a result. However, just 39
percent of Americans would still favor raising the minimum wage if
it caused companies to lay off or hire fewer workers.
When it comes to paying for a higher minimum wage, 38 percent
say companies would raise their prices, 32 percent say companies
would lay off workers, 18 percent say they’d reduce executive
salaries, and 6 percent say firms would accept smaller profits.
Forty percent of Americans say raising the minimum wage would
have no impact on the number of jobs available, 38 percent say it
would decrease the number of jobs, and 20 percent believe it would
increase the number of jobs.
If the 2014 elections were held today, 40 percent of Americans
said they’d vote for the Democrat in the congressional district and
36 percent would vote for the Republican. When it comes to
controlling Congress, 29 percent of Americans would like Democrats
to take control, 24 would like Republicans to control Congress and
43 percent wish neither major party would be in control of
Republican Party Presidential Primary
Democratic Party 2016 Presidential Primary
Hillary Clinton 64%
Elizabeth Warren 6%
Energy Subsidies and Keystone Pipeline
Americans favor building the Keystone Pipeline by a 61-32
margin, Reason-Rupe finds. Fifty-eight percent of
Americans support giving subsidies to wind, solar and hydrogen
energy companies. Just 31 percent of Americans favor giving
subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies.
Reason-Rupe finds 78 percent of Americans have a favorable view
of the police. However, with protests over police shootings in
places like Albuquerque, 50
percent of Americans say police officers are not generally held
accountable for misconduct, while 46 percent say police are
held accountable. Sixty-six percent of blacks and 64 percent of
Hispanics say the police are not held accountable for
Nearly nine in 10 Americans, 88 percent, believe citizens should
be allowed to videotape uniformed police officers while they are
making arrests or performing other parts of their jobs.
Poll results and additional Reason-Rupe poll resources
here. This is the latest in a series of Reason-Rupe public
opinion surveys dedicated to exploring what Americans really think
about government and major issues. This Reason Foundation
project is made possible thanks to the generous support of the
Arthur N. Rupe Foundation.
Emily Ekins, Director of Polling, Reason Foundation, (310)
Kristen Kelley, Communications Specialist, Reason Foundation,
April 2014 National Telephone Poll