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New Poll: Majority of Americans Disagree with President on Spending

For Immediate Release: January 18, 2013
Media Contact: Press Office | | 571.970.6490


More Americans Trust Oprah Than Government with Their Money 

Arlington, Va. – Public Notice today released the results of a national survey on federal spending, the debt and the recent fiscal cliff deal. The survey was conducted by The Tarrance Group via telephone and 25% via cellphone from Jan. 13 – Jan. 16. , 2013, among N=805 registered “likely” voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/– 3.5%.

The results show that the vast majority of Americans (74 percent) believe the federal government spends too much, and the same percentage (74) disagree with President Obama’s statement that “We don’t have spending problem.” In fact, 79 percent of those surveyed say that overspending is a bigger problem for our economy than generating new revenue, while spending and deficits were tied with jobs (29 percent) as their top concern.

Soaring debt and deficits, along with more than three years without a budget, also seemed to have eroded trust in the government’s ability to manage money. By a margin of more than two-to-one (52 percent), Americans would prefer Oprah Winfrey to handle their budget instead of Washington (22 percent). And a majority (56 percent) say it is extremely or very important that President Obama call for specific spending cuts in his upcoming Inaugural address.

Gretchen Hamel, executive director of Public Notice, issued the following statement regarding the poll:

“The reason that spending and deficits are once again a top issue is because Americans recognize that it’s not only hurting our overall economy, but it’s also having a direct impact on their own personal finances. The idea that we don’t have a spending problem is out of step with nearly three-quarters of those surveyed and it’s that view in Washington that is eroding public trust in the federal government’s ability to manage a budget. Americans trust Oprah over Washington to handle their family finances by a more than two-to-one margin; it’s time for our leaders to come clean about their addiction to spending.”

Key Findings:

- Spending and the federal deficit are tied with jobs and the economy as the top concern on people’s minds (29 percent).  The next top concern is education at 11 percent.

-74 percent disagree and 22 percent agree with President Obama’s statement that “We don’t have a spending problem.”  In fact, 56 percent say it is extremely or very important that President Obama call for specific spending cuts in his upcoming Inaugural address.

-Voters also distrust the government’s ability to handle money.  A majority (52 percent) would trust Oprah Winfrey over the federal government (22 percent) to set and manage their family’s budget.

-Pessimism remains high among voters, as 57 percent say things in the country are on the wrong track.  Just 37 percent say things are moving in the right direction.  On the economy specifically, just 27% say it is getting better.  A plurality (39 percent) believe the economy is getting worse, and one third (33 percent) say it is staying the same.

Click here to read the full polling memo.   

To schedule an interview, please contact The Public Notice Press Office at (571) 970-6490 or e-mail 


Public Notice is an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to providing the facts and insights on the effects public policy has on Americans’ financial well-being.

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