There is broad public agreement that economic inequality has grown over the past decade. But as President Obama prepares for Tuesday’s State of the Union, where he is expected to unveil proposals for dealing with inequality and poverty, there are wide partisan differences over how much the government should - and can - do to address these issues.
The new national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults, finds that 65% believe the gap between the rich and everyone else has increased in the last 10 years. This view is shared by majorities across nearly all groups in the public, including 68% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans.
Yet there is a sharp disagreement over whether this gap needs government attention. Among Democrats, 90% say the government should do “a lot” or “some” to reduce the gap between the rich and everyone else, including 62% who say it should do a lot. But only half as many Republicans (45%) think the government should do something about this gap, with just 23% saying it should do a lot. Instead, nearly half of Republicans say the government should do “not much” (15%) or “nothing at all” (33%) about the wealth divide.
New Quinnipiac Poll: Most Americans Think Snowden “More of a Whistleblower,” but Still Want Him Prosecuted
Today Glenn Greenwald and his cronies are crowing about a new Quinnipiac University poll, showing that a majority of Americans consider Edward Snowden more of a “whistleblower” than a “traitor.”
Imagine working month after month to demonize Snowden as a traitor only to wake up & see this new polling data http://t.co/h5HYl2XTLj
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 14, 2014
New poll shows huge margin of Americans see Snowden as more of a whistleblower than traitor: 57%-34% http://t.co/TQAPld9lH5
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) January 14, 2014
Here’s the question:
“Do you regard Edward Snowden — the national security consultant who released information to the media about the phone scanning program — as more of a traitor, or more of a whistle-blower?”
34% say they consider him more of a traitor, 57% say whistleblower.
But notice: that either/or question doesn’t allow for any opinions in between. For example, I do not consider Snowden to be a whistleblower, but I’m not sure I’d go all the way to “traitor,” either.
Be that as it may, it’s very interesting to see the poll responses Greenwald didn’t mention:
“Do you support or oppose the federal government program in which all phone calls are scanned to see if any calls are going to a phone number linked to terrorism?”
“Do you think this program is necessary to keep Americans safe or not?”
Not necessary: 46%
“Do you think the Obama administration should drop the pursuit of Edward Snowden and let him come home as a free man or not?”
Should drop pursuit: 39%
Should NOT drop pursuit: 47%
So even though a plurality of Americans think Snowden’s “more of a whistleblower,” they still think he should face prosecution, and they’re almost evenly split on support for the NSA’s data collection programs. I wonder why Greenwald isn’t trumpeting those numbers?
Bad news for the Snowden/Greenwald axis and their pursuit of immunity from prosecution: the American public’s not going for it.
The Times writes that “the shrill brigade of his critics say Mr. Snowden has done profound damage to intelligence operations of the United States, but none has presented the slightest proof that his disclosures really hurt the nation’s security.”
But Americans see things differently. Sixty percent said they believe his disclosures harmed U.S. security, according to a November Washington Post-ABC News poll. And 55 percent said they think he did the “wrong thing” in leaking information to the media about the government’s sweeping surveillance efforts. Snowden has shared his information about the NSA programs with The Washington Post.
More than half of Americans (52 percent) said that Snowden should be charged with a crime for disclosing the NSA’s sweeping intelligence-gathering efforts. Just 38 percent said he should not be charged. (The Times, it should be noted, isn’t saying that Snowden shouldn’t be charged at all. It’s simply vouching for leniency.)
Support for prosecuting Snowden crosses party lines (highly unusual in these days of the government shutdown), as the following chart shows:
And an interesting footnote: as Greenwald and his cronies have disclosed more and more of the stolen documents (revealing NSA programs and secrets that have nothing to do with civil liberties), the public has grown more and more opposed to the Snowden public relations effort.
Americans have become less sympathetic to Snowden as additional programs have been revealed. In June, a Post-ABC poll found the public split 43 to 48 percent over whether he should be charged. Opinions changed one month later, with 53 percent saying he should be charged, a finding that held steady in November at 52 percent.
If you’re a member of the GOP establishment who wants to see Republicans win elections, the latest poll results from Virginia have to be your second worst nightmare: The Implosion of the GOP Brand, in One More Chart.
The interactive chart shows that the national GOP’s unfavorable rating in Virginia has spiked to 87 percent among nonwhite likely voters. It’s at 69 percent among women voters. And it’s at 69 percent among white college graduate voters — a number that is likely higher among college educated white women. White college grads — particularly women — are an increasingly important constituency to Democrats, and their preferences could have major implications for the GOP’s ability to win elections in the future with an overreliance on white voters.
And it is at 69 percent among independents. All of this mirrors another chart I posted last week that showed the GOP brand collapsing among key voter groups nationally.
Multiple observers — see Mark Murray and Taegan Goddard for examples — argue Virginia is increasingly resembling the country as a whole.
Why do I say it’s the GOP establishment’s second worst nightmare? Because their worst nightmare is the Tea Party base, who couldn’t care less about polls like this and are going to keep demanding still more far right ideological purity from Republican candidates.
The latest CNN poll on the government shutdown shows that the American public isn’t falling for the Republican Party’s attempt to reverse victim and offender: CNN Poll: Republicans Would Bear the Brunt of Shutdown Blame.
Washington (CNN) — If the federal government shuts down starting Tuesday because of a bitter partisan battle over the new health care law, more people say congressional Republicans rather than President Barack Obama would be responsible, according to a new national survey.
A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday morning, hours before funding for the government is scheduled to run out, also indicates that most Americans think Republicans in Congress are acting like spoiled children in this fiscal fight, with the public divided on whether the president is acting like a spoiled child or a responsible adult.
And six in 10 questioned in the survey say they want Congress to approve a budget agreement to avoid a government shutdown, and if it happens, most people say a shutdown would be a bad thing for the country.