Rasmussen Reports dissects conventional wisdom on Reagan maxim

When President Reagan famously said in his 1981 inaugural address that “government is not the solution, government is the problem,” he probably had no idea those words would become part of the warp and woof of American politics.

But judging by the latest Rasmussen Reports survey of public opinion, Reagan's maxim is assumed to be true by millions of Americans two decades after he spoke those words.

“Forty-six percent (46%) of Likely U.S. Voters tell us in a new national telephone survey that that policy position is held mostly by conservatives and 40% say Reagan’s view is shared by most Americans,” Rasmussen said.

“Only three percent (3%) think hardly anybody believes the late president was right and 5% say it’s mostly a liberal view,” Rasmussen said.

But if only four of every 10 likely voters think most Americans believe Reagan's maxim, perhaps it is losing its influence on public opinion. In fact, Rasmussen notes, previous surveys have shown stronger support for Reagan's view.

“Earlier surveys show that, in fact, most Americans agree with Reagan’s view,” Rasmussen said. “In several surveys since October 2008, 56% to 59% of all Likely Voters have agreed that government is the problem, not the solution.”

There is, as usual, a huge gap between how members of the Political Class answered Rasmussen's query and those among Average Voters.

“Just 19% of the Political Class believe Reagan’s view is shared by most Americans, but 44% of Mainstream voters are aware that most Americans agree with Reagan,” Rasmussen said.

“Nearly one-in-five Political Class voters (18%) think hardly anybody believes government is the problem, not the solution.”

For more from Rasmussen, go here.

Beltway ConfidentialMark TapscottRonald ReaganUS

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