According to a recent poll by Rasmussen Reports, voters overwhelmingly prefer a free market economy to one managed by the government. The survey also revealed that voters think government economic control helps big businesses at the expense of small ones.
According to the survey, 75% of Likely U.S. voters think a free market economy is better than an economy managed by the government. That’s up five points from December 2008 following Barack Obama’s election as president but consistent with findings in surveys since then. Only 14% think government control of the economy is better.
The political class isn’t so sure. Ninety percent (90%) of mainstream voters prefer a free market economy. Among Political Class voters, however, just 34% feel that way, while 30% like a government-managed economy better and 35% are undecided.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) of all voters think increased competition rather than increased government regulation is the best way to hold big business accountable. Thirty-four percent (34%) say increased regulation is the best way to go.
But again, while 74% of mainstream voters favor increased competition, 70% of the political class prefer increased regulation.
Government regulation hurts small businesses more than big businesses, according to 71% of voters nationwide. Just 14% believe government regulation hurts big business more.
Fifty-nine percent (59%) say most big businesses take advantage of the political process to hurt small businesses. Twenty-four percent (24%) disagree, but 17% more are not sure.
Voters have consistently said in surveys for months that government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors.
Voters are evenly divided when asked if a free market economy unfairly concentrates wealth and power among a small segment of society: 42% say yes, and 42% say no. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.
Democrats are more critical of a free market economy than Republicans and voters not affiliated with either of the parties. Sixty percent (60%) of those in the president’s party believe a free market economy unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small social segment. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of GOP voters don’t share that view. Unaffiliateds are closely divided on the question.
Sixty-two percent (62%) of Democrats think increased government regulation is the best way to hold big businesses accountable. Eighty percent (80%) of Republicans and 63% of voters not affiliated with either major party disagree and think increased competition is best.
Voters have mixed feelings about government regulation of big business, but most feel small businesses are regulated too much.
There is also a strong belief that more competition and less regulation would be better for the economy and job creation.
Congress recently created a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, an agency that will further regulate the lending practices of banks, mortgage lenders and credit card companies. But most Americans say increased competition, not more government regulation, will do more to protect borrowers.
A majority of voters continue to expect the cost of health care to go up under the new health care law that increases government regulation of that industry. Fifty-three percent (56%) favor repeal of the law.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 24-25, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information. Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. For more information, visit http://www.rasmussenreports.com.