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Survey: Public Wants Less Guns, More Butter From Feds

January 17, 2007

When it comes to Uncle Sam's pocketbook, many Americans say federal priorities are out of whack, with too much money for the Pentagon at the expense of health care, education and the environment. That's the finding of a survey from the University of Chicago National Opinion Research Center. David Osterberg with the Iowa Public Policy Project calls it a well-done survey, and he urges national leaders to pay attention.

"You take the number of folks who feel strongly about something and compare them to the people who think there is too much and then come up with a net number. When you do that, you find people want health, education, the environment, and they don't want money spent on the military."

Osterberg says Iowans have an opportunity to put those issues on the political map in the upcoming Iowa caucus. He adds that it's vital for voters to know where presidential candidates of both parties stand on federal spending.

"Something that is an Iowa issue then can become a national issue simply because so many people who want to become president hear those people."

According to the organization Iowans for Sensible Priorities, half of the federal government's discretionary spending is on the military, and if funding just for out-of-date weapons were diverted, it could fund things like health care, poverty relief, education and the environment.

Dick Layman/Eric Mack, Public News Service - IA