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republican

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The national debt currently stands at over $14.7 trillion, and that sum causes great concern to Oklahomans, regardless of political affiliation. By the same token, an overwhelming majority of Oklahomans support a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget.

SoonerPoll recently conducted a survey that asked respondents’ thoughts on the national debt, and on a balanced budget amendment, and I think you’ll find the results to be interesting.

Here in Oklahoma, support for requiring the federal budget to be balanced has broad appeal. 76.2% of those polled supported such a measure, while just 17.7% opposed.

When you dig further into those numbers, 67.7% of Democrats along with majorities of those who identify as liberals support the amendment. Contrary to what the mainstream media might imply, balancing the budget isn’t a “radical” idea from the Tea Party, it’s a unifying concept across the political spectrum. In the SoonerPoll survey, there wasn’t a single demographic or subset that did not support a balanced budget amendment.

Every state except for Vermont has some sort of a balanced budget requirement, and at various points in American history, balanced budget amendments have come close to being considered or enacted (in the 1990’s, a Balanced Budget Amendment passed the U.S. House and came one vote short in the U.S. Senate).

Part of the reason for this popular support of a balanced budget amendment is the soaring national debt. Just eleven years ago, the national debt stood at just under $5.7 trillion dollars. Nine trillion dollars later, worry over the debt and our future is at an all time high.

Those surveyed by SoonerPoll were asked to use a 0 to 10 scale to express their concern regarding the national debt (with ‘0’ meaning ‘not at all concerned, and ‘10’ meaning ‘extremely concerned’). The results really are remarkable. Among all respondents, 4.2% responded in the 0 to 4 range, 4.4% were neutral, 24.2% were 6 to 9, and an astounding 66.3% picked ‘10’ for ‘extremely concerned’.

Again, as with the balanced budget question, large majorities of every possible group expressed extreme concern over the national debt. To Oklahomans, this is not a partisan issue, with Democrats on one end of the spectrum and Republicans on the other, balancing as if on a teeter-totter. Instead, as the debt continues to rise on one side, they are both sitting on the edge of the opposite side.

In the past few years, little has brought these two issues to light more forcefully than the emergence of the Tea Party. The crushing national debt and the perpetually unbalanced federal budget have and continue to be focal points for the grassroots movement. As a result, the national conversation has turned to these topics.

Regardless of how the two issues are addressed, Oklahomans are extremely concerned about the national debt, and are united in their support of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Oklahomans have it right, and with red ink threatening to swamp the entire country, the President and Congress need to take note.

Jamison Faught s a guest political analyst and commentator at SoonerPoll.com.  Jamison is a conservative political activist and the author of MuskogeePolitico.com, one of the top political blogs in the state.

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A SoonerPoll conducted in May reveals that 54.4 percent of likely Oklahoma voters think the current tax burden is too high. By comparison, 32.6 percent of respondents said they think the tax burden is about right and only 3.3 percent of respondents said the tax burden is too low.

Respondents were read the following question: “According to the Tax Foundation, the average Oklahoman worked from January 1 until April 2, 2011 to earn enough money to pay this year’s tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels. That’s a total tax burden of roughly 25 percent. Do you think this tax burden is too low, too high, or just about right?”

“These results demonstrate that a majority of Oklahoma voters are rightly concerned with the amount of effort that the average taxpayer has to expend to fund government,” Jonathan Small, CPA and OCPA fiscal policy director, said.  “Oklahoma families are experiencing rising costs in order to purchase essentials such as gasoline, food, clothing and health care. Yet despite a recession, state government spending continues to climb, reaching an all-time high of $16.6 billion in Fiscal Year-2010.”

OCPA’s Brandon Dutcher on Taxes

Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Michael Carnuccio asks the Vice President for Policy Brandon Dutcher for his take on the latest SoonerPoll results concerning taxes.

 

When broken down by political party, the results reveal a similar “too low” response rate from Republican and Democratic respondents as 3.4 and 3.6 percent respectively answering “too low.” However, results also indicate that Republicans are 11.4 percentage points more likely to think the tax burden is too high while Democrats are 8.8 percentage points more likely to say “just about right.”

On the same poll, respondents were asked the following open‐ended question: “In your view, what is the maximum tax burden (federal, state, and local combined) a citizen should be required to shoulder?”

Results show that 53.3 percent of respondents indicated a percentage less than 25 percent, the number which was described in the preceding question as the percentage that the “average Oklahoman” pays each year.

According to the poll, 18.5 percent of respondents preferred a tax burden of 10 percent, while 17.7 percent preferred 15 percent. Results reveal that 17.9 percent of likely voters polled chose a response between 25 and 40 percent.

“Unfortunately, the politics of envy have historically been what have determined tax burdens,” Small said. “Policymakers need to ask a fundamental question: What portion of a person’s income – his property – should we take from him to fund government? And before we answer that question it might be wise to take a lesson from God himself, who somehow thought it was reasonable to take only 10 percent.”

Data also revealed that 1.2 percent said it depends on the taxpayers income, 0.4 percent said it should remain what it is now, while 2.4 percent indicated their support for a fair tax or flat tax system. Another 22.2 percent had no opinion.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, was commissioned for this poll by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. SoonerPoll.com conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 509 likely voters from May 2 – 12. The study has a margin of error of ± 4.34 percent.

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A recent SoonerPoll finds Oklahomans’ opinions of political parties have changed since last April, but only time will tell whether these changes are part of a larger trend. The poll conducted this March asked likely Oklahoma voters questions to gauge favorability of national and local party organizations.

The exact same questions were asked last April and the new results reveal that public opinion has changed since last year.

Favorability of the National Democratic Party dropped 1.3 percentage points since April while the percentage of Oklahoman’s with unfavorable opinions of the party held at exactly 53.2 percent.

The favorability of the Oklahoma Democratic Party dropped 1.4 percentage points to 43.8 percent while the unfavorable position grew the same amount to 42 percent. The Oklahoma Democratic party is now only 0.1 percentage points higher that favorability of the Tea Party.

“The state Democratic Party used to rely on this concept of the Oklahoma Democrat as a brand,” Dr. Keith Gaddie, Vice President of SoonerPoll, said. “That brand has collapsed. That brand is no more popular than the Tea Party, which is not an actual organization. You can’t just say, ‘I’m an Oklahoma Democrat’ and hope to win an election in this state.”

Although the results indicate what may be a shift in the way Oklahomans view the Democratic Party, Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll warns of the dangers of speculation when the change is minute enough to fall within the margin of error.

take a look at the exact questions asked in this poll

The percentage of Oklahoman’s with unfavorable opinions of the National Republican Party fell 7.6 percentage points, from 48.7 in April to only 41.1 percent this March.  Although unfavorable opinions fell, favorability for the party increased only 1.6 percentage points to 42.8 percent since April, as a neutral opinion of the party grew  6 percentage points.

“The Republican Party suffered lower favorability during and after the 2008 election as large scale discontent with the course of the nation occurred under a Republican president,” Shapard said. “Although favorability of the Republican party has not increased, we are beginning to see unfavorable opinions drop, so much so that favorable opinions are now higher than unfavorable opinions.”

Unfavorable opinions of the Oklahoma Republican Party dropped 3.7 percentage points since April. Like the National results the Oklahoma Republican Party held close to the same favorability numbers, 50 percent, while the number of neutral votes grew just over 3 percentage points to 16.9 percent.

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, compared two scientific studies that used live interviewers by telephone of 1000 likely voters  from Feb. 25 – March 8, 2010 and 318 likely voters from April 23-26, 2009. The studies have a margin of error of ± 3.1 percent and ± 5.5 percent respectively.

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