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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Battleground 2006 Survey Shows Wide Public Support for Using Pork to Pay for Storm Recovery

Three of every four Americans support paying for Hurricane Katrina and Wilma recovery by transferring "items from the recent highway funding bill not directly related to road construction," according to the latest George Washington University Battleground 2006 Survey.

Transferring the pork from the highway bill was chosen by 73 percent of 1,000 registered likely voters interviewed Oct. 9-12, with a margin of error of 3.1 percent. The Battleground 2006 survey is a joint effort on behalf of the university by The Tarrance Group and Lake, Snell, Perry, Mermin, and Associates. The former is a Republican firm and the latter is a Democrat firm.

The second most popular way of paying for storm recovery in the survey is "increasing taxes for those with household incomes of more than $200,000," at 68 percent. Third most popular is "significantly reducing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq with a goal of total withdrawal by the end of 2006," which drew support from 63 percent of the respondents.

Paying for storm recovery by running a bigger federal deficit drew support from 42 percent of the respondents and delaying the start of the Medicare Presciption Drug benefit one year was selected by 32 percent.

The responses on paying for storm recovery are found on slides 26 and 27 of the survey, which is here. A GWU news release containing detailed explanations of responses on all the issues covered in the survey is here.

UPDATE: 1:50 p.m. Personnel IS Policy

Tim Chapman of Townhall.com's Capitol Report has snared an email circulating among Senate Appropriations staffers that illustrates the depth to which the culture of pork barrelling is entrenched in Congress.

This is why those of us in the Reagan administration known as Reaganauts had a saying - "Personnel IS Policy" - when it comes to government. This may well be the most important rule for translating campaign promises into concrete programs and decisions in government.

Without the cooperation of the people who make the day-to-day decisions about how the government operates - which means the congressional staff on the Hill and the career bureaucracy in the executive branch - everything is vastly more difficult for the political appointees of the elected officials in implementing the policies and programs that reflect the popular will of the majority.