Most Want Consensus Before Gov’t Acts; But Most Think Gov’t Waits Too Long to Act

If a narrow majority of voters supports a major new program involving significant new government regulations and spending 32% of voters believe the government should act quickly to implement that program. However, a ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that 68% believe the government should wait for a consensus to develop.

At the same time, however, 62% believe the government generally takes too long to act. Only 38% believe it typically launches new programs too quickly.

These views are broadly shared across partisan and demographic lines. However, the most liberal voters and younger voters are less interested in waiting for a consensus to develop. Forty-six percent (46%) of Strong Liberal voters think the government should act immediately rather than wait for consensus. The same is true for 40% of voters under 35 (see crosstab results).

Considering these results together, it is easy to understand public frustration with political leadership. In the current political environment, both parties appeal to their base and seek to implement policies with narrow majority support. Whichever side is in the minority then uses whatever tactics it can to slow down that implementation.

If Congress fails to act on an important national issue, 39% believe it is appropriate for the president to act on his own. Thirty-five percent (35%) disagree and 25% are not sure. Presidents Trump and Obama have each cited this rationale at some point in their presidency. Currently, Republicans are more supportive of it than Democrats. It is likely that the numbers were reversed When Obama lived in the White House.

If the president and Congress cannot agree on an issue, 27% believe the government should wait to act until the voters can elect new leaders. Forty-eight percent (48%) disagree and 26% are not sure.

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The national survey of 1,004 Registered Voters was conducted February 12-13, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.

Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).

Posted in Poll Results

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