May 25, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, IL--Discontent and mistrust of lawmakers is great across the country pollster Scott Rasmussen told a group of luncheon guests in Springfield. The Illinois Policy Institute hosted the Tuesday midday presentation.
People don't trust their elected representatives and real change will be a long series of actions, Rasmussen insisted. Sometimes called the countries leading insurgent pollster, Rasmussen said real change in peoples' sentiment needs a catalyst and will take a long series of actions.
Long road for change
The author of Mad As Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System asked the group a question as an example of how long it takes for a drastic change in policy. "When did women get to vote in the US?"
Murmurs from the audience indicated that it was in the 1920s that women won the right to vote. Rasmussen said that answer is off by half a century. The first women to vote actually was in Wyoming in 1869. This eventually grew to the national woman's suffrage movement to peak in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. This is an example of how long it takes for a significant change in government policy.
The main moment of, what some philosophers consider to be a psychic revolt, requires some kind of catalyst. Rasmussen feels that this could be a defined issue like the bailouts of '08 or the recent movement to secure collective bargaining rights.
Voters aren't trusting
One thing is clear, voters are not satisfied and have a strong distrust in their elected representatives. This is proven, not merely by Rasmussen's polls, but simply by reviewing the past three administrations.
President Clinton took office with democratic control of both the house and senate. He lost control of both chambers before his two terms were up. President Bush Jr took office with both chambers controlled by republicans only to lose control to democrats before the end of his two terms. President Obama took office with democrats controlling both chambers but quickly lost that to a republican controlled house. This is the first time that back-to-back-to-back administrations have lost control of congress, according to Rasmussen. This makes the discontent of voters much more clear than a poll ever could.
On issues of the federal budget, Rasmussen says the debt celing debate is a noble one, but the numbers being argued over are insignificant. Real changes cannot occur with the federal budget unless people look at the top three drains of resources: national defense, Medicare and social security. Republicans are weary of cutting national defense while democrats won't touch social security. This two party predicament is stalling any kind of serious reform, the pollster said.
At the end of the luncheon, Collin Hitt, Senior Director of Governmental Affairs for the Illinois Policy Institute, said that pension reforms in Illinois could be that catalyst to inspire serious change in Illinois' policy. Hitt says that Illinois is one economic dip away from bouncing checks for retirees while advocacy groups spend millions of dollars to say don't take Bob so-and-so's pension away. "No one wants to take their pensions away," Hitt said. "People just want serious reform of benefits."
Hitt and the Illinois Policy Institute used the lunch to unveil their poll May 2011: The Pulse of Illinois. One major point Hitt covered from the poll was that a majority of young people in Illinois feel they must move out of the state to find their ideal job. Read more about the poll of 500 likely Illinois voters conducted in coordination with the Illinois Policy Institute and pollster Scott Rasmussen linked here.