BSG and SKDK Release Latest Study on the Economy, Technology, Taxes, Cuba, and Marijuana in New Beyond The Beltway Insights Initiative

Study Finds Economic Optimism and Strong Support for Autonomy Over Personal Tech Data –

On March 18th, Benenson Strategy Group and SKDKnickerbocker released their second joint public opinion study, “Beyond the Beltway Insights.” The poll, which was funded independently by both firms, interviewed 1,032 registered voters across the country and dives deep into Americans’ thinking on an array of hot-button issues. As with the first study, Beyond the Beltway delivers insights into the values and attitudes shaping our public policy debates – from the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank to cyber privacy concerns.

As with findings in the first poll, Americans trust the technology industry and side with tech companies over the government when it comes to privacy issues. Key findings from this study reveal that a majority of Americans across all demographics strongly believe that their interactions online and on their mobile devices should be guarded—barring extreme circumstances—from law enforcement agencies and the government. As online identities become increasingly important in all aspects of life, almost nine in ten registered voters support a policy similar to a European law known as the “right to be forgotten,” which would allow individuals to ask companies like Google and Bing to remove personal information that appears in search engine results.

As the American economy continues to recover, the poll also finds that a majority of voters feel optimistic about the economy and the opportunities that the next generation has to succeed. Americans across demographics are ready to invest in our middle class by supporting a $2,000 middle class tax credit, and they believe that the corporate tax rate should be lowered and paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes. Voters also care deeply about investing in American businesses and workers. This ideology is especially significant to the politically-charged debate about the reauthorization of the Export-Import bank, with 54% of voters supporting reauthorizing the bank because of its ability to grow American jobs while allowing small businesses to compete internationally.

Finally, on a host of social issues from breast-feeding in public to relaxing marijuana restrictions, there appears to be a generational divide between younger and older Americans. Registered voters under the age of 50 are more likely to agree that fathers should be guaranteed paternity leave, women should be able to breastfeed in public and the most important job benefit is being paid well. Additionally, 59% of GOP voters under the age of 50 support state-regulated sales of marijuana across the country while 61% of GOP voters over the age of 50 oppose state-regulated sales.  Vaccinations were one issue where beliefs cut across age groups: three quarters of all those polled agree that vaccinations should be required except in cases with medical conditions or religious beliefs.

“Our country is debating a range of controversial issues – from cyber privacy to diplomatic relations with Cuba. The most interesting aspect of this poll is that partisans are willing to embrace many ideas outside of their party’s agenda. This presents a host of opportunities, as well as challenges for Congress, the administration, and 2016 presidential candidates,” said Doug Thornell, SKDKnickerbocker.

“It’s clear from our findings that Americans want greater control over their cyber lives. Nine in ten voters support the U.S. adopting a version of the European Union’s ‘right to be forgotten’ law and large majorities side with tech companies over the government when it comes to resisting requests for information. As we continue publishing Beyond the Beltway, we’ll keep digging beneath the surface to pinpoint the values shaping public opinion on this and an array of other issues,” said Pete Brodnitz, Benenson Strategy Group.

The second in a planned series, the Beyond the Beltway Insights Initiative will continue to pinpoint Americans’ attitudes about the most-discussed issues of the day and opportunities to advance our national conversation. To see and download a full report please go to:

The pulse of the nation is always evolving and Beyond the Beltway is too. Follow Beyond the Beltway Insights on Twitter: @Beyond_Beltway

This poll was conducted by BSG and consists of 1,032 total interviews conducted February 26-27 among registered voters selected from an opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the national registered voter population. The margin of error for overall results is ±3.05% and higher among subgroups. Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. This report includes a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling.