NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 25, 2008

The idea that bringing home federal dollars is integral to a politician's job and essential to getting re-elected is a favorite of Republicans and Democrats alike.  There is just one problem with this theory.  It is dead wrong, says Pat Toomey, the president of the Club for Growth.

In a recently conducted nationwide poll of 800 voters on government spending, the Club for Growth found that the results were exactly the opposite of what most politicians have been saying for years. 

Likely voters were asked the following question: "All things being equal, for whom would you be more likely to vote for the U.S. Congress: A candidate who wants to cut overall federal spending, even if that includes cutting some money that would come to your district or a candidate who wants to increase overall spending on federal programs, as long as more federal spending and projects come to your district?"  The results were unambiguous, says Toomey:

  • Some 54 percent of general election voters chose the frugal candidate, compared with only 29 percent who chose the profligate candidate.
  • Republicans overwhelmingly favor less federal spending, 72 percent to 17 percent with independents close behind at 61 percent.
  • Only Democrats prefer more federal spending, but only by a plurality; 36 percent of Democrats chose the more fiscally conservative candidate, while 42 percent chose the alternative.

This poll reveals that voters are fed up with Washington's out-of-control spending, says Toomey.  Politicians aren't representing the will of the people when they bring home the bacon.  They are really representing the will of their special-interest cronies, says Toomey.

Source: Pat Toomey, "Voters Want Less Pork, Even in Their Own District," Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2008.

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