AMERICANS HEART INFRASTRUCTURE…. A couple of weeks ago, Gallup conducted a poll on public attitudes towards a stimulus package. The single most popular aspect of a possible rescue plan? Government spending on infrastructure, which enjoyed 78% support, and came out on top among Americans of every party and ideology.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz has been doing similar tests of public opinion, and has found similar results: Americans really care about infrastructure.
I’m a pollster and political consultant associated with Republican causes: the Contract with America, the “death tax” and, of course, ending wasteful Washington spending. So why am I behind the new stimulus legislation — the biggest spending bill ever to be considered by Congress? Maybe because when it comes to some things — crumbling schools, overcrowded highways, an ineffective energy system, clean-water facilities that don’t clean water and trains and planes that are always late — we’re all on the same side.
Last month, I conducted a national survey of 800 registered voters on their attitudes toward infrastructure investment…. The survey’s findings were unlike any other issue I have polled in more than a decade. Iraq, healthcare, taxes, education — they all predictably divide and polarize Americans into political camps. Not infrastructure.
Consider this: A near unanimous 94% of Americans are concerned about our nation’s infrastructure. And this concern cuts across all regions of the country and across urban, suburban and rural communities.
Fully 84% of the public wants more money spent by the federal government — and 83% wants more spent by state governments — to improve America’s infrastructure.
How strong is the support? Luntz found that Americans are prepared to pay (cue scary music) higher taxes for more infrastructure investment. Luntz was further shocked to find that three out of four Republicans would accept such a trade off.
Better yet, Luntz found that Americans “understand that infrastructure is not just roads, bridges and rails. In fact, they rated fixing energy facilities as their highest priority. Roads and highways scored second, and clean-water treatment facilities third.”
The phrase “good policy is good politics” keeps coming to mind.