The phrase, and ones like it, keep popping up in discussions of the cash-for-clunkers program. But is it wildly popular? It’s certainly wildly popular among car buyers who qualify, but that’s not a representative sample, now is it? Rent control is hugely popular among occupants of rent-controlled apartments. But that’s not quite the same thing as a poll showing that Americans love rent control. Cash-for-Clunkers is also very popular with car dealers and car companies — and some statists eager to prove government can do something right. But again, that’s not exactly a representative sample of America writ large.
Has there been any polling? It may be that the program is popular, but I’d be surprised if it is wildly popular. Giving away free money is always wildly popular with the people who receive it, less so for those who are forced to pay it.
Update: Well, I guess I shouldn’t have been in such a hurry to perambulate my canine and spent the extra minute or two googling the question. It seems there has been polling. Here’s Rasmussen from June:
Despite the willingness of people to accept the money if it was available, 54% opposed the “Cash for Clunkers” proposal and just 35% were in favor the plan. Twelve percent (12%) were undecided.
So, the press keeps saying “wildly popular” — I’ve done it myself, I’m afraid — without the all-important qualification “wildly popular among people who get thousands of free dollars from other taxpayers.”