The Populist Majority: Americans Want An End To Business As Usual

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Presentation by Celinda Lake of Lake Research for the New Populism Conference, May 22, 2014.

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  • Celinda Lake

    Lake Research Partners

    Washington, DC | Berkeley, CA | New York, NYLakeResearch.com

    202.776.9066

    The Populist MajorityAmericans Want An End To Business As Usual

    May 22, 2014

  • THE SHRINKING MIDDLE CLASS

  • Three-quarters of voters say their own economic situation has gotten worse or stagnated over the past four years.

    22%

    36%

    40%

    1%

    1%

    Gotten better

    Gotten worse

    Stayed the same

    Combo/Other

    Unsure/Refused

    Do you think that your personal economic situation has gotten better, worse, or stayed the same over the past four years?

    The Tarrance Group/Lake Research Partners March 2014 Battleground PollMarch 16-20, 2014/ N=1,000 Registered likely voters / 3.1% M.O.E.

    3

  • Fewer Americans now classify themselves as middle-class, and more are using the lower class description.

    Survey of 1,504 adults conducted Jan. 15-19, 2014.

    4

  • Voters are extremely skeptical about their ability to attain the American Dream and overwhelmingly do not agree that the next generation will be better off than they are.

    65

    20

    70

    65

    2

    4

    1

    4

    34

    76

    29

    31

    In America, anyone can get ahead if they workhard enough.

    I think the next generation will be better offeconomically than I am now.

    Our economy makes it too tough for the middleclass to make ends meet.

    I am optimistic about where I will be financiallyfive years from now.

    Agree Unsure Disagree

    The Tarrance Group/Lake Research Partners March 2014 Battleground PollMarch 16-20, 2014/ N=1,000 Registered likely voters / 3.1% M.O.E.

    Please listen carefully as I read each statement and tell me if you would agree or disagree with that particular statement.

    5

  • THE URGENCY OF INEQUALITY

  • The wealthy are largely seen as doing very well in the current economy, while women, the middle class, and particularly those living in poverty are not doing well.

    68

    19

    10

    8

    4

    5

    13

    34

    27

    25

    18

    8

    Thewealthy*

    Men

    You andyour family

    Women

    The middleclass

    Those livingin poverty*

    Very Well Fairly well

    Source: NBC/Wall Street Journal Survey. Conducted by Hart Research Associates & Public Opinion Strategies. January 22-25, 2014

    Im going to mention a number of groups of people and for each one, please tell me how well the economy works for that type of person very well, fairly well, just somewhat well, not that well, or

    not well at all.

    *Asked of half the sample

    39

    7

  • Americans resoundingly believe income inequality is a significant problem in todays society.

    49%

    30%

    8%

    9%

    4%

    Big problem

    Somewhat of a problem

    Not much of a problem

    Not a problem at all

    Unsure/Refused

    How big of a problem would you say that income inequality is? Would you say it is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, not much of a problem, or not a problem at all?

    The Tarrance Group/Lake Research Partners March 2014 Battleground PollMarch 16-20, 2014/ N=1,000 Registered likely voters / 3.1% M.O.E.

    8

  • There is striking consensus around the desire the need for government to intervene on grounds of economic fairness.

    54

    64

    72

    59

    1

    2

    3

    3

    45

    34

    25

    38

    People who work hard for a living and play by the rulesnever seem to get ahead.

    The economic rules in this country unfairly favor the rich.

    Middle class people have it the toughest in our economicsystem. There are assistance programs for the poor andtax breaks for the rich, but no real help for middle class

    people.

    The government should be doing something to reduce thegap between the rich and everyone else.

    Agree Unsure Disagree

    The Tarrance Group/Lake Research Partners March 2014 Battleground PollMarch 16-20, 2014/ N=1,000 Registered likely voters / 3.1% M.O.E.

    Please listen carefully as I read each statement and tell me if you would agree or disagree with that particular statement.

    9

  • A FOCUS ON JOB CREATION

  • Creating jobs and reducing the deficit are voters top priorities for the Obama administration and Congress.

    273839

    45494951

    5456575960

    6674

    91

    Addressing the issue of climate change

    Enacting pension and entitlement reform

    Passing new immigration legislation

    Reducing income inequality

    Reforming the nation's intelligence system

    Using federal aid $ to encourage colleges to offer

    Increasing the minumum wage

    Fix and keep the new health care law

    Reforming Social Security and Medicare

    Withdrawing almost all combat troops from Afghanistan

    Closing corporate tax loopholes

    Addressing Iran's nuclear program

    Ensuring all children have access to pre-school education

    Reducing the federal budget deficit

    Creating Jobs

    Should this be an absolute priority for the Obama administration and THIS years Congress, is it something that can be delayed until next year, or something that should not be pursued?

    % Saying Absolute

    Top PriorityFor This Year

    NBC/Wall Street Journal. January 2014

    11

  • 12

    62

    59

    68

    54

    58

    37

    40

    31

    45

    41

    24

    22

    26

    24

    23

    20

    21

    15

    29

    21

    Total

    Non-college men

    Non-college women

    College educated men

    College educated women

    Majorities of Americans with and without college degrees want the government to focus on job creation, even if it has short-term deficit impacts.

    Darker colors indicate intensity (Strongly disagree/ Strongly agree)

    Disagree Agree

    LRP survey of 1,515 adults, including oversamples of African American women, Latinas, Asian/Pacific Islander women, and men and women ages 18 to 29, conducted on behalf of the Ms. Foundation for Women. March 15-24, 2011.

    Now, here is a statement about the economy. Please mark whether you agree or disagree with the following statement: The government should focus on creating jobs even if it means increasing the deficit in the short-term.

  • 13

    4513

    109

    64

    33

    52

    Education

    Health care

    Affordable housing

    Crime and public safety

    Public transportation

    Public water systems

    Sidewalks and street lighting

    Other

    None of these

    Don't know

    A strong plurality (45%) of Americans consider education the area most worthy of government investment to create jobs.

    LRP survey of 1014 adults nationwide, on behalf of Corporate Accountability International. January 27-30, 2012.

    Most Likely to Prioritize Education: Independent, Lean Democrat63% Homemakers60% African-American women59% African-Americans

  • Turnout targets are responsive to a range of messages that focus on concrete efforts to help working people and expand opportunity by raising wages, improving schools, and creating jobs.

    Hart Research Associates, Ten Things Democrats Need to Know about the Economy to Win in 2014.

    14

  • TAX FAIRNESS

  • The Republicans have a strong message on cutting taxes and removing regulations, which will continue to be their counterargument to populist economic policies.

    43%

    45%

    4%

    3%

    5%

    Closing the gap

    Cutting taxes/removing regulations

    Combo/Other

    None

    Unsure/Refused

    What do you think would be the best way to make sure that everyone can move up economically? Would you say it is reducing the gap between the wealthiest Americans

    and the rest of the country or cutting taxes and removing unnecessary regulations?

    The Tarrance Group/Lake Research Partners March 2014 Battleground PollJanuary 12-16, 2014/ N=1,000 Registered likely voters / 3.1% M.O.E.

    16

  • But two-thirds of voters believe that the richest 2% should be paying more in taxes.

    I'm going to read you descriptions of different groups of people and institutions, and for each one, I would like you to tell me whether you feel this group should be paying more in taxes than it does today, should be paying less in taxes than it does today, or is paying about the right amount today.

    Americans for Tax Fairness survey among 1,009 voters. Conducted October 25-30, 2013 by Hart Research Associates.

    April 2012 January 2013 October 2013

    *darker shade indicates intensity

    17

  • Voters agree that tax loopholes are the result of a system rigged in favor of the special interests.

    REPUBLICANS: America has the highest income tax rates on businesses in the world. We needtax reform that broadens the base by eliminating loopholes, which will allow us to reducecorporate tax rates. This kind of pro-growth tax reform will make the system simpler, more fair,grow our economy, and raise more revenue."

    Agree strongly

    50%

    Agree strongly

    21%

    62%

    30%

    +32 Democrats

    DEMOCRATS: The tax system is rigged in favor of special interests against the middle class. Largecompanies like General Electric and Verizon pay no federal income taxes some years, while Appleavoids billions in taxes by stashing profits in offshore tax havens. It's about time big corporationsstarted living by the same rules as the rest of us.

    Americans for Tax Fairness survey of 1,009 voters. Conducted October 25-30, 2013 by Hart Research Associates.

    Concerning corporate tax reform, with which statement do you agree more?

    18

  • Voters approve of policies that would eliminate tax loopholes for millionaires and large corporations and move us closer to tax fairness.

    PolicyStrongly Approve

    Approve

    Close tax loopholes to ensure that American corporations pay as much on foreign profits as they do on profits made in the United States. 59 79Eliminate tax loopholes for corporate meals and entertainment.

    54 69Eliminate the loophole that allows Wall Street hedge fund managers to pay a lower tax rate than middle-class taxpayers. 53 68Pass the Buffett Rule, which sets a minimum income tax rate of thirty percent for millionaires to ensure they do not pay a lower tax rate than the middle class. 51 71Close loopholes that allow corporations and wealthy individuals to avoid paying U.S. taxes by shifting income to offshore tax havens. 50 62

    Now I'd like to get your reaction to some tax and spending policies that may be considered by Congress for reducing the federal budget deficit. For each one, please tell me whether you strongly approve, somewhat approve, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove of this proposal.

    Americans for Tax Fairness survey among 1,009 voters. Conducted October 25-30, 2013 by Hart Research Associates.

    19

  • In fact, swing voters are more likely to support public investments aimed at creating jobs if those investments are funded by closing tax loopholes for big corporations and the rich.

    Hart Research Associates, Ten Things Democrats Need to Know about the Economy to Win in 2014.

    Which candidate would you be more likely to support? (Swing Voters)

    50 50

    Republican candidate Democratic candidate

    39 62

    Favors cutting govt spending to bring down deficit and reduce debt

    Favors investment in schools, research, and transportation that create jobs

    Favors cutting govt spending to bring down deficit and reduce debt

    Favors investment in schools, research, and transportation that create jobs, funded by closing tax loopholes for big corporations and the rich

    20

  • Voters are especially supportive of closing tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.

    MessageVery

    ConvincingVery/Fairly Convincing

    We should end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs and profits offshore, and level the playing field for small businesses that create jobs in America.

    55 67We should close tax loopholes for large corporations that ship jobs offshore, and instead use that money to invest in jobs in America by improving our roads and bridges and rebuilding manufacturing.

    54 68

    Instead of cutting education funding for our children, we should ask millionaires to pay at least as high a tax rate as their secretaries.

    50 64It's better to end huge tax subsidies to oil and gas companies making record profits than to make seniors pay more for Medicare. 48 58

    I'm going to read some statements made by people who support the Democrats' budget priorities. For each statement, please tell me whether you think it is a very convincing, fairly convincing, just somewhat convincing, or not a convincing reason to support the Democrats' budget priorities.

    Americans for Tax Fairness survey among 1,009 voters. Conducted October 25-30, 2013 by Hart Research Associates.

    21

  • REGULATING BIG BUSINESS

  • Nearly all voters believe it is important to regulate financial services and products. This is a core value.

    93

    6 1

    73

    Important Not important Don't know

    +87

    How important is it to regulate financial services and products to make sure they are fair for consumers? Is it very important, somewhat important, a little important, or not at all important?

    Lake Research Partners survey of 1,004 likely 2014 voters conducted on behalf of the Ford Foundation, the Center for Responsible Lending, and Americans for Financial Reform. The national survey was conducted from July 8 11, 2013 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

    23

  • More than 8 in 10 voters support tougher rules and enforcement for Wall Street financial companies, while just 9% believe they dont need further regulation.

    83

    92 6

    Tougher Rules &Enforcement

    Don't Need FurtherRegulation

    Neither Don't Know

    Tougher Rules for Financial Companies

    Should Wall Street financial companies be held accountable with tougher rules and enforcement for the practices that caused the financial crisis, or have their practices changed enough that they dont need further

    regulation?

    Lake Research Partners survey of 1,004 likely 2014 voters conducted on behalf of the Ford Foundation, the Center for Responsible Lending, and Americans for Financial Reform. The national survey was conducted from July 8 11, 2013 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

    24

  • While trade is seen more as an opportunity for growth than a threat to the economy, voters worry that unregulated globalization puts the American economy at a disadvantage.

    54

    38

    4 3

    Opportunityfor growth

    Threat toeconomy

    Both Unsure

    What do you think foreign trade means for America? Do you see foreign trade more as an opportunity for economic growth through increased U.S. exports or

    a threat to the economy from foreign imports?

    NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll of 500 registered voters nationwide conducted by Hart Research Associates (D) and Public Opinion Strategies (R). April 23-27, 2014.

    43 48

    5 4

    Good Bad Equal Unsure

    Do you think the fact that the American economy has become increasingly global is good because it

    has opened up new markets for American products and resulted in more jobs, or bad because it has

    subjected American companies and employees to unfair competition and cheap labor?

    Gallup Poll. Feb. 6-9, 2014. N=1,023 adults nationwide 25

  • TAKING BACK OUR DEMOCRACY

  • Voters are fed up with members of Congress and the Big Money Campaign Donors that help them win elections to rig the system in their favor.

    Net

    23

    12

    67

    72

    436

    51

    Members of Congress

    Big Money Campaign Donors

    Unfavorable Favorable

    -43

    -60

    Now Id like to ask you about some groups. For each, please tell me whether you have a VERY favorable, SOMEWHAT favorable, somewhat UNFAVORABLE, or VERY unfavorable impression.

    Public Campaign Action Fund survey of 804 likely 2014 voters nationwide. Conducted December 14-17, 2013 by Lake Research Partners. The margin of error is +/- 3.3%

    27

  • There is a growing sense of urgency behind changing the way campaigns are funded.

    72%

    June 2010 December 2013

    83%

    Major Changes NeededDemocrats: 55% (10) 64% (13)

    Independents: 56% (10) 66% (13)Republicans: 45% (10) 54% (13)

    Changes to the Way We Finance CampaignsWhen it comes to the way we finance election campaigns, do you think we need to make major changes, minor changes, or should we not make any changes to the way election campaigns are financed, or arent you sure?

    Public Campaign Action Fund survey of 804 likely 2014 voters nationwide. Conducted December 14-17, 2013 by Lake Research Partners. The margin of error is +/- 3.3%

    28

  • Celinda Lakeclake@lakeresearch.com

    Washington, DC | Berkeley, CA | New York, NYLakeResearch.com202.776.9066