FOX NEWS POLL…. Most national polls from major outlets include predictable, straightforward questions. It’s always fun to go through Fox News polls, however, because their standards for objectivity don’t exist.

A new Fox News poll (pdf), for example, asks respondents:

* Do you think the economic recovery legislation that passed last week is better described as a stimulus bill or a spending bill? (A 52% majority said “spending bill.”)

* Do you think Americans are starting to rely too much on the government and
not enough on themselves? (A 76% majority said we’re relying too much on government.)

* President Obama wants the White House to take greater control over the Census Bureau, which traditionally has reported solely to the Commerce Department. The results of the census affect the balance of political power in Congress and the distribution of federal funds and therefore the Census Bureau is typically managed by non-elected officials. Do you think it would be appropriate or inappropriate for the White House to take greater control over the Census? (A 58% majority said this is “inappropriate.”)

It’s almost as if Fox News were testing Republican Party talking points in a national poll. Perish the thought.

I was surprised, though, to see the same poll read a list of items to respondents, asking them whether it should be a “responsibility of the federal government.” The results weren’t what I was expecting:

* 88% said the federal government has a responsibility to help rebuild communities affected by natural disasters.

* 68% said the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have food.

* 66% said the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care.

* 52% said the federal government has a responsibility to provide housing to those who cannot afford it.

* 51% said the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans who want a job have a job.

For a “center-right nation,” most Americans seem to have a pretty ambitious vision for what the federal government has a “responsibility” to provide to its citizens.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.