More on seniors' distaste for government
Seniors are the least likely to say they want more government services in a range of areas, and electorally interested seniors hold distinct views from their less interested counterparts, Dan Balz and Jon Cohen write in a new article. Here are some additional highlights from the Post-Kaiser-Harvard study:
Distaste for government intervention:
Seniors' preference for less government intervention extends across issue areas. Compared with those under 65, seniors are less apt to want additional government intervention on protecting the environment, ensuring access to health care, reducing poverty, setting educational standards and regulating Wall Street financial institutions. Four in 10 seniors, for instance, say they want more government involvement in ensuring access to health care, compared with more than half of all adults, including nearly two in three who are under 30.
Q. Please tell me whether you'd like to see more federal government involvement in ..., less involvement, about the same amount of involvement, or no federal government involvement at all?
Percent saying they want more involvement in that area
All 18-29 65+ Protecting the environment 61 70 48 Ensuring access to health care 52 63 40 Promoting values and morality 40 43 41 in the society Reducing poverty 64 75 52 Setting educational standards 57 71 40 for public schools Regulating Wall Street 47 45 40 financial institutions Fighting terrorism 56 44 62 Regulating gun ownership 32 34 31
There are a few exceptions, though: older adults are more likely than younger ones to say that Medicare, Social Security and defense spending are important.
Dim view of government and its leaders:
While few Americans give the federal government and its leaders good grades, seniors are particularly negative. They give the federal government a 1.37 (on a four point scale) for its performance. And they give President Obama a 1.9, roughly a C. Both are significantly lower than the grades doled out by adults under 30 and the broader populace.
Seniors are more likely to say that the nation is on the wrong track and that the federal government has the wrong priorities. Two in three seniors, for example, say things are heading off course, compared with 58 percent of younger adults. Only three in 10 seniors say the federal government is focused on the right things, compared with four in 10 Americans overall and about half of 18-29 year olds.
Seniors display much more interest in the 2010 contest than their younger counterparts. First, a full 91 percent of seniors say they are registered to vote at their present address, compared with 77 percent of other adults. Thirty-nine percent of seniors are more interested in the upcoming election than they were in 2008, compared with 27 percent of adults 18-64. Finally, 34 percent of seniors say they are at least somewhat likely to contribute money to a political candidate or party between now and Nov. 2, compared with 26 percent of younger adults.
Despite their skepticism of government programs and the nation's direction, more seniors call it "our" government rather than "the" government. The split for seniors is 56-42 in favor of "our" government, while for all adults it is reversed, 55-45 in favor of "the" government.
Fully 86 percent of adults 65 and older say the U.S. has the best system of government in the world, compared with 77 percent overall. Thirty three percent of adults under 30 disagree with that statement. Only one in four seniors say violent action against the government is at times justified, compared with three in 10 overall and four in 10 adults under 30.
Q. Please tell me how important you think ... is.
Percent saying the program is very important
All 18-64 65+ Medicare 74 72 82 Social Security 77 74 89 Defense spending 56 55 62
Q. If you were to grade the overall performance of the federal government, what grade would you give?
---- A/B ---- ---- C/D ---- No NET A B NET C D F opinion All 25 3 21 55 32 24 19 1 18-64 35 3 32 58 40 18 6 * Seniors 19 5 14 48 25 24 31 2
Q. If you were to grade the overall performance of Barack Obama as president, what grade would you give?
---- A/B ---- ---- C/D ---- No NET A B NET C D F opinion All 48 17 30 33 20 13 18 1 18-29 61 17 44 29 22 7 7 3 Seniors 38 17 21 36 20 17 24 1
| October 13, 2010; 3:17 PM ET
Categories: Guns, Health care, Polls, Post Polls | Tags: 2010, federal government, midterms, obama, role of government, seniors, young adults
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