The Koch Brothers’ group In Pursuit Of recently released the results of a deceptively worded survey meant to make the case for less government. It actually did the opposite.
The national survey, which was entitled “Breaking Barriers to Achieve a Society of Mutual Benefit,” polled 1,000 randomly selected American adults between July 16 and July 18. The initial part of the poll made leading statements and then asked respondents if they either agreed or disagreed.
Also, respondents were asked if a problem facing the country was a “major problem,” a “minor problem,” or “not a problem at all.” 92 percent of respondents said that “growing costs of health care” was either a major or minor problem, and 91 percent of those polled said that “increasing costs of higher education was either a major or minor problem. Additionally, 80 percent of survey-takers said that “growing income inequality” was a problem.
Finally, the poll suggested numerous policy solutions from both the liberal and conservative side of the political spectrum and asked respondents whether or not a policy listed was a “very effective solution,” a “somewhat effective solution,” “not a solution at all,” or if they were unsure.
While the leading statements at the beginning of the survey unsurprisingly painted a picture of an America that wants more deregulation of business and less government intrusion in the private sector, a table at the end of the survey showed that the problems Americans identified as the most severe would be best solved by more government. Namely, the creation of a single-payer healthcare system and tuition-free public colleges and universities.
As the above table shows, a majority of respondents (55 percent) said “a government-run health system” was either a very effective or somewhat effective solution. Two-thirds of those polled (66 percent) said “government-paid college tuition” was also a viable solution to the problem of rising costs of higher education. 65 percent of respondents were either somewhat or very much in favor of a $15/hour minimum wage, and 69 percent of survey-takers viewed “more regulation of Wall Street” in a favorable light, presumably in response to the problem of growing income inequality that most respondents said was one of the biggest problems America faced.
The fact that a group created by the Koch Brothers ended up publishing a survey showing the widespread popularity of progressive policies like free college, single-payer healthcare, a living wage, and more regulation of financial markets is likely surprising to the billionaire businessmen who have already pledged nearly half a billion dollars to conservative politicians and causes in this election cycle alone.
This also isn’t the first time a group tied to the Koch Brothers made the case for progressive policy. Just recently, the Koch-funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University published a study that found that while Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All bill would cost $32.6 trillion over a ten-year period, that amount is actually $2 trillion less than what Americans already spend on our current healthcare system — meaning that even a Koch-funded researcher agrees that Medicare for All would save money while covering everyone.
To view the full survey, click here.
Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.