Taking two different questions from two different surveys, they really do tie into the same sentiment that there’s a lot of issues with the cost of college.
What are some solutions? That’s a common problem, is there is a common solution that people feel? Well, yeah, 87% of the people we surveyed nationally believe that they would support more efforts for job training.
So while there’s a huge dissatisfaction with the cost of college and the rising costs of tuition, there’s an equally strong push for more job training options. It’s really interesting to see.
Trinko: What about health care? Obviously, this has been an issue that’s really roiled the country for at least a decade. We now have some on the left pushing for “Medicare for All.” What did your survey reveal about Americans’ attitudes on this?
Rogers: Health care is a contentious issue, or it has been in the past, but it’s an issue, once again, you would think there would be a lot of disagreement across the country on, that’s just simply not the case.
We asked Americans, “Do you favor or oppose doing away with all private health insurance companies and creating a government-run health care system?” We wanted to keep the language of single-payer or “Medicare for All” out of it, we just wanted to see what the sentiments were exactly.
And 65% of voters opposed doing away with all private health care, all private health insurance, 65% opposed that, 52% strongly opposed that, so there’s a huge amount of opposition. And only 27% favored it.
There’s a large consensus on the fact that government-run health care is not the solution.
When it comes to if there is a problem with health care, what are your problems with health care? Fifty-five percent, a majority, said that health care costs them too much, it costs the consumer too much as opposed to only 15% that said there wasn’t enough coverage or 9% that said there’s not enough quality in the health care.
When you look at what problems Obamacare really looked to solve, it was a problem of access and it was a problem of quality a lot, and it sacrificed costs.
We all know that Obamacare caused insurance premiums to skyrocket and that effect is felt a bit by Americans when they’re looking at what can be fixed about the health care system, just reducing consumer costs is something that is an area that we can improve on.
Trinko: What do Americans think about taxes? When I was looking at this polling, one thing that jumped out at me, which I don’t personally agree with, but it seemed like it was really popular to tax the super rich.
Rogers: It is. This was one of the more unfortunate findings. This is what I point to when people ask, “Well, did you cook the books? Did you skew the numbers?”
This is certainly not a result that is ideal for myself or Heritage Action to find, but yeah, 47% of Americans feel that the richest 10% of Americans are taxed much too low, which is a striking number. And then on top of that, another 16% feel they’re taxed somewhat too low.
The leftist ideology of Occupy Wall Street and Antifa and these things of free distribution and taxing the rich, that is something that has been effective in terms of convincing Americans, which is sad to see.
Trinko: But a lot of middle-class people still think that they and small businesses pay too much in taxes, right?
Rogers: Yeah, absolutely. Asking a similar question, “How do you think the middle class is taxed?” Thirty-three percent said much too high. … While over 60% feel that the richest 10% are taxed too little, a solid 59% feel the middle class is taxed too high, and also 57% say that small businesses are taxed too high.
There is an appetite for potentially even more tax cuts for middle-class Americans and small businesses, which is great to see.
Trinko: What about the issue of immigration? Speaking of an issue where it’s hard to separate viewpoints from rhetoric, what do people actually think?
Rogers: Yeah. This is one of the more polarizing issues of our time and our polling, once again, did capture where the polarization is and where there’s a chance for a consensus and where a consensus already exists.
There is polarization about building the wall, which is not a surprise to anyone, it certainly wasn’t surprising to us.
We asked, “Do you support building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico?” And it was very split. It was a statistical tie international survey, which is a bit surprising based on what we see the media reporting at large is that maybe it’s just a small minority of Republicans or maybe conservatives, outspoken conservatives, are the only ones who support border security, but that’s just not the case.
Forty-eight percent support building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and 49% opposed, and that’s a statistical tie within our margin of error. But we see immediately where the polarization happens and it does happen between people who live in rural areas and people who live in suburban areas.
There’s a split between men and women on this issue, so it is polarizing, we pick up the polarization but when we expand beyond the wall and we look at other different solutions to immigration, not solutions to border security, but just other issues within the umbrella of immigration, we see a lot of different things, like skills-based immigration, for instance.
We asked, “If more legal”—that’s important to say—”legal immigrants are admitted to the United States, should priority be given to immigrants based on their skills or should priority be given to immigrants based on whether they already have family members in the country?”
Fifty-one percent of our national likely voters that we surveyed said skills, which is a huge number, especially compared to only the 29% that said family.
With this, really one of the only subgroups that prefer chain-based family migration over skills-based immigration are people that subscribe to a liberal ideology. So that’s an area where we do have consensus across pretty much all of our cross tabs and subgroups, really except for liberals.
Trinko: Lastly, you’ve obviously been working on this polling for months. Did any of the results particularly surprise you?
Rogers: Yeah, we had some huge surprises. One in particular, sticking with the subject of immigration, we asked, “When it comes to illegal immigration, which do you think is the biggest challenge illegal immigrants posed to America? (1) They take jobs from Americans. (2) They commit violent crimes. (3) They overuse social services. Or (4) they undermine American culture?”
Huge surprise here, 37% of the electorates said social services—and the social services we listed in the question were schools, hospitals, and welfare. I’ve run little impromptu focus groups on this asking this question at dinner parties and family gatherings and things.
Trinko: Wow, you must be a lot of fun.
Rogers: I know. I try to keep things interesting with polling questions but it does come back about the same.
So we hear the president talk a ton about the crime and jobs aspect and those are very important aspects to immigration and are important challenges that immigration, illegal immigration, poses, but the social services is by and large the most popular thing and, of the four challenges we listed, that’s probably the challenge the president talks least about.
When we’re working, trying to come up with policies to bring Americans together, finding a way to help relieve social services and speak to that aspect of immigration, that’s something where we bring independents into the fold, we bring moderates into the fold, this is all their greatest concern as well.
Trinko: OK. Well thank you so much for joining us. Again, Nate Rogers of Heritage Action for America.
Rogers: Thank you.
Trinko: And full disclosure, I should note that Heritage Action is a sister organization of The Heritage Foundation, our parent organization.
This first appeared in The Daily Signal here.