Here’s one for those who believe that the tea-party movement is “astro-turf.” Despite the long recession and a banking industry that teetered on the abyss last year, America still believes in the free market system. In fact it seems as if one of President Obama’s unintended success stories is that he has driven more Americans to believe in the free market system.
A new Rasmussen poll reports that 76% of voters say a free market economy is better than one managed by the government. Only 10% prefer an economy managed by the government. That is up from 70% a year ago.
While voters almost always see a need for some restriction on market behavior, by a 48% to 33% margin American voters believe there are currently too many economic restrictions in the United States (7% think the current level of restrictions are about right, while 12% are not sure). If they think its too restrictive now wait until cap and trade and Obamacare.
As you might expect, 54% of Democratic voters feel there are not enough restrictions on the free market. But a majority of Republican (74%) and a plurality of independent voters (45%) take the opposite view and say there are too many restrictions.
And the Political elite types?
Not surprisingly, the Political Class is less enthusiastic about markets and less skeptical about a government role. Among this relatively small group, just 52% say a free market approach is best while 30% prefer an economy managed by the government.
By a 44% to 36% margin voters do not agree that a free market economy unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society (20% aren’t sure).
Interestingly only 37% of voters believe a free market economy is the same as a capitalist economy. According to Scott Rasmussen:
“The gap between strong support for free markets and tepid support for capitalism suggests that many Americans believe that capitalism means big business can keep the profits when times are good and get bailed out by taxpayers when times are bad.”
American’s are still not happy with the bailouts. In July Rasmussen reported,
Eighty percent (80%) say Wall Street benefited more from the bailout of the financial industry than the average U.S. taxpayer.
All this ties into the America’s dislike of Obamacare (opposed by a 51-41% margin) and the continued low approval ratings of the President.