News reports quote President Obama, in discussing the debt ceiling and the ongoing argument over tax and spending policy in his press conference yesterday, saying:
It turns out the American people agree with me.
Do they? It’s true that a majority of respondents told pollsters that they wanted to raise taxes on someone else. And Congress did that in the “fiscal cliff” legislation.
But what about the president’s insistence on a larger government and essentially no cuts in federal spending? The election day exit polls shed some light on those questions.
51 percent of voters polled said the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals—8 points higher than in the 2008 election. Only 43 percent of voters said they believe government should be doing more.
49 percent said the 2010 health care law should be repealed, with only 44 percent of voters supporting it.
And 51 percent said they prefer smaller government with fewer services, while 43 percent prefer larger government. As usual.
There are many reasons that Mitt Romney lost the election, from the Republicans’ alienation of everyone except straight white men, to an effective campaign of demonization, to “legitimate rape.” But the polls don’t show that voters agree with President Obama on constant expansion of the size, scope, and power of government.