A majority of Americans continue to support the congressional ban on earmarks instituted by former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, a new Economist Group/YouGov poll shows.
The ban was supported by 63 percent of those polled, while 12 percent disapproved of the ban and 26 percent were not sure whether they approved or disapproved of it.
On principle, only 17 percent of respondents approved of the practice of earmarks and 59 percent said it is unacceptable.
Legislators insert earmarks into bills to tag federal funds for use in specific projects, often to curry favor in their own districts.
When the House of Representatives banned earmarks in 2010, Boehner called the move a “critical step to restore public trust.”
But the Economist Group/YouGov poll also seems to show that this majority approval of Congress’ earmark policy hasn’t substantially improved the public’s opinion of Congress. Forty-eight percent said the policy had no effect on their opinion, while only 23 percent said it had improved their opinion. Six percent of those surveyed even said the earmark ban had lowered their view of Congress.
Justin Bogie, a senior policy analyst for The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal that Congress’ supposed ban had failed to actually eliminate earmark spending.
“While it is good to see that those polled are in favor of the earmark ban, the fact of the matter is that earmarks still exist and are funneled to congressmen’s pet projects through federal programs,” Bogie said in an email.
“Since the implementation of the Budget Control Act discretionary spending caps in 2013, Congress has passed legislation to raise the cap four out of five years, allowing for increased discretionary spending to continue flowing for member-specific priorities,” Bogie said. “Moving forward, Congress should stick to or reduce the discretionary spending caps and ensure that all earmarks are truly eliminated.”
The poll took place online and surveyed 2,000 adults between June 2 and June 5. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.