Published May 15, 2009
The Obama administration consistently uses the word "invest" or "investment" instead of government "spending." Even so, most Americans don't make the distinction as fully 78 percent say it means spending their tax dollars, not saving them.
In addition, 54 percent of voters think the Obama administration is proposing too much of an increase in government spending, while 6 percent say not enough. About a third -- 35 percent -- says the spending is "about right."
A majority of Democrats (61 percent) think the president's proposed spending is about right, while majorities of Republicans (85 percent) and independents (61 percent) think there is too much of an increase.
The flip side of government spending is budget cuts, and the poll finds 6 in 10 think President Obama is not cutting enough waste from government, including 84 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats.
These are just some of the findings from a FOX News poll released Friday.
Given Obama's criticism of the Bush administration deficits during the presidential campaign, some 28 percent of Americans say they are surprised Obama is increasing the nation's deficit. More than twice as many -- 68 percent -- are not surprised.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell recently made news by saying that Americans "want more government in their life." Americans disagree. Most -- 71 percent -- say they want less government in their life. A much smaller number (17 percent) fall in the category described by Powell.
Would You Buy a Chrysler?
About one in four Americans (24 percent) say if they were shopping for a new car right now they would buy a Chrysler. Those responding negatively were asked, "why not?" and 17 percent mention bankruptcy, while 50 percent gave a non-bankruptcy reason.
Other U.S. automakers are much more popular: Over half of Americans -- 54 percent -- say they would buy a Ford if they were shopping for a car right now, 46 percent say they would buy a car from General Motors. For comparison, 48 percent say they would buy a Honda.
Overall, by a slim 6 percentage point margin Americans think foreign car companies make better cars and trucks than U.S. automakers (45 percent versus 39 percent).
The poll finds a significantly higher number think the more important contribution the U.S. auto industry makes to the country is "providing good jobs and benefits to workers" (42 percent) over "making good cars and trucks for consumers" (27 percent). Some 24 percent say "both."
By 55 percent to 33 percent Americans think the federal government's increased involvement in U.S. auto companies is a bad thing, which is higher than the number that thinks the government's involvement in the U.S. financial industry is bad (47 percent bad thing, 38 percent good thing).
Furthermore, majorities think Obama has been "too easy" on U.S. car company executives (58 percent) and the auto industry unions (57 percent).
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from May 12 to May 13. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
Is It Time to Buy or Sell?
The poll finds people are at best uncertain about the nation's current economic situation. Opinion is almost evenly divided on whether it is a good time to buy a new car or even a new television. And more people say it is a bad time to purchase new furniture or a major vacation.
Nearly half of Americans (48 percent) think it is a good time to buy a home -- that's nine times the number that says it is a good time to sell a home (5 percent). While the remaining 42 percent say it is best to "sit tight" in the current housing market.
When the question is about stocks, over half of Americans (55 percent) would stay out of the market right now, while 30 percent think it is a good time to buy and 4 percent say a good time to sell.
Stay-cation This Year?
Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) say they will be spending less money on their vacation this year, while 17 percent expect to spend about the same this year as last. A lucky few -- 11 percent -- say they plan to spend more.
Those living in households making at least $50,000 a year are almost twice as likely to say they will spend more on vacation this year than those living in households making under $50,000.