Sarah Palin v. Pork Barrel Spending? Pork Wins

Voters want to deal with out of control government spending, right? Not so much.

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If there's one thing we know about the battle for Congress, it's that querulous voters are determined to rein in their drunken sailor legislators. Well ... maybe not, according to a new poll.

According to the latest Society for Human Resource Management/National Journal poll (conducted with Pew Research Center), voters are more interested in pork than tea (as in party), Barack Obama or Sarah Palin.

The survey asked adults (rather than registered voters or, better, likely voters) what might make a difference in their voting choice in November. Choices included promises of bringing home the federal bacon, support from the president and from the former half-term governor of Alaska, and fidelity to the Tea Party movement.

Federal dollars won, big time. A total of 53 percent of adults said that they would be more likely to support a candidate who had a track record of bringing federal bucks back home to the district, while only 12 percent said that that would make them less likely to support the candidate. A whopping 47 percent of Republicans liked the pork-laden candidate more, while only 17 percent of GOP-ers said they would vote against such a candidate.

Contrast that figure with the more or less neutral effect Obama has (27 percent would be more likely to support his favored candidate and 28 percent less so). And then there's the genuinely negative effect of the off-putting Tea Party movement (22-31 against) and the genuinely polarizing Palin (18 percent would be more inclined to vote for a Palin-supported candidate, while 38 percent would move in the other direction).

Where does that leave Republicans campaigning on cutting government spending during a time of economic difficulty? Preaching to their base--which is probably smart politics in an off-year election.

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