13 Questions with Scott Rasmussen



In Search of Self-Governance


~ Scott W. Rasmussen

1. Despite being an independent pollster for more than a decade, and despite Rasmussen Reports being the most accurate polling outfit in the last 2 major elections - Democrats have recently attempted to marginalize you as a basically a GOP hit man. What's your take on the claim, and on being made a political target?

When there’s bad news, some people like to shoot the messenger. If you want to be an independent voice in politics today, you need a thick skin.

As with most things in life, it’s helpful to keep it in perspective. It’s not personal, it’s political. Much of the spin against us comes from a pretty small group. Other Democrats, including pollsters for Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, have praised and continue to praise our work. Also, according to the New York Times magazine, current White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gets updates on our work and takes action.

The bottom line is that most analysts recognize the attacks for what they are and also recognize the quality of our work.

2. Your book is focused on self governance, and on the things that unite America rather than divide it. Do you see any indications that America can actually break the cycle of partisan politics? The current political class is committed to partisan bickering. However, most Americans have a healthier perspective and I am an optimist by nature. So I believe the American people will eventually win and teach the politicians to behave.

In the book, I note that if parents ever found Little League players behaving as poorly as Congress, they’d disband the team and maybe even bulldoze the field.

Most of us have come to believe that the political system is broken, that most politicians are corrupt, and that neither major political party has the answers. The American people may disagree vehemently about specific policy issues, but we share a common belief that things work best when the people are in charge.

Sooner or later, that sentiment will carry the day.

3. What inspired you to write the book? I’m proud to be an American and proud of our great national heritage—a heritage built upon freedom, liberty, and the belief that the people should rule their rulers. I am grateful for those who have given their lives defending our freedoms and thankful for those who defend us still today.

Self-governance is about far more than politics and government. It requires a lot of the American people and it has nothing to do with the petty partisan games played by Republicans and Democrats. Unfortunately, even after more than 200 years of success, there is now an urgent need to defend this most basic of American values.

Recently, our polling found that just 21% of voters believe our government has the consent of the governed. That’s horrific… and it presents a real crisis of legitimacy for our government regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats are in charge. If the government cannot regain the consent of the governed, our nation’s best days are certainly behind us. We can’t let that happen.

4. Is it possible for America to get back to self-governance, considering more people than ever are receiving some form of government assistance? Absolutely. I have no doubt that self-governance can be restored.

But it’s hard to outline a specific path so I draw encouragement from our heritage and history. While things look bleak today, they are certainly not as bleak as when the colonies were contemplating challenging the mightiest military force in the world during the 1770s. Our situation may be challenging, but the political dynamics today are certainly not as challenging as they were for women who couldn’t vote and were seeking the right to vote.

Are there enough people willing to give up their piece of the government pie? The American people are far more willing than their politicians to make reasonable decisions. And, millions of Americans are already acting on their own in ways the politicians can’t imagine. People today are planning for retirement without counting on Social Security. They are not acting politically, they are acting responsibly in a self-governing manner. Over time, these individual actions will create an environment where the political solutions become apparent.

5. What are the essential areas that will help get America moving on a path toward self-governance and away from dependence?

The first step is to recognize that self-governance means a lot more than the formal powers of politics and government. In a self-governing society, the most important decisions—about faith, jobs, family—are made by individuals. When something needs to be done in a community, people get together and do it. We help govern businesses by going to places that treat us well and avoiding those that don’t. Millions of responsible actions undertaken every day by ordinary Americans are what really govern our society. While government has an important role to fill in this mix, it’s a support role rather than the lead role.

6. Drawing from your vast polling experience, who would win a head to head poll for president: Glenn Beck or The Sham-Wow guy?

They both can hold an audience, they have something to offer...but only one can win..so, who is it? One of the great things about being a pollster is we don’t guess about things without data!

7. Any polls recently that completely shocked you?

I already mentioned the poll showing that just 21% believe our government has the consent of the governed. Also, a poll showing that just 53% say capitalism is better than socialism. When we explored things a bit, we found that nearly 80% prefer a free market economy over a government managed system. But many don’t equate free markets with capitalism.

The bailouts are partly to blame for the discrepancy. Many people have come to believe that capitalism means that large companies keep the profit when times are good and get bailed out by taxpayers when they fail. In addition to the dollars, most Americans are offended by that approach because smaller companies and individuals are held accountable for their mistakes. Large companies, if they’re well connected enough, seem able to avoid paying for their mistakes. Roughly 70% of Americans now believe that government and big business work together against the rest of us.

8. Over 70% of people want Democrats to start from scratch on healthcare reform. Obviously conservatives hate this bill, but 70% means a significant portion on the left hate it too. What do those on the left not like about it?

Most Americans, of all political persuasions, want health care reform. They are looking primarily for something that will reduce the cost of care without harming the quality of care. Two-thirds think that increasing competition is the best way to control costs.

But, support for the legislation before Congress has broken down along partisan lines. Democrats and liberals overwhelmingly support it. Republicans, unaffiliated voters, moderates, and conservatives are opposed.

Looked at from a different perspective, those who favor a single-payer health care system are in favor of the legislation and those who don’t want a single payer system are opposed.

9. Given Obama's recent drop in approval, do you think there is a chance he could actually lose in 2012? Is there anyone out there popular enough to pull it off?

Barack Obama is more likely than any other individual at this point to win the 2012 election, but there is a reasonable chance he could lose as well. The reality is that we have no way of knowing what his chances are until after the mid-term elections this year. The President is going through a tough stretch right now, but he may adapt after the mid-terms. How he adapts will be the most important factor of the 2012 election.

In terms of who could be popular enough to challenge Obama, it’s important to remember that in early 2006 hardly anyone had heard of Obama. There’s a good chance that the next nominee of the Republican Party is somebody currently unknown to most Americans.

10. The left claims your favorable polls on Obama are always worse than the rest, and that you do it on purpose. How do you respond to that claim?

Rasmussen Reports polls about the President’s Job Approval among Likely Voters. Gallup, the only other firm doing daily tracking, measures the President’s approval among all adults. Under just about any circumstance, the President will do 3-5 points better among adults than among Likely Voters. As a result, our raw numbers are 3-5 points lower than Gallup’s. But they show the same trend and we believe the political realities are better measured by surveying Likely Voters.

Why do Likely Voter surveys show lower support for the president than surveys of all adults? Because young people and minorities—groups who strongly support the President—are less likely to vote than other Americans.

11. Do you ever get hatemail from the right?

All the time. We got tons such mail routinely during 2008 from people who were mad because we showed Obama beating McCain. We got in 2006, especially as we began to suggest that Democrats would win control of the Senate. Right now, the tides are flowing in the other direction and a lot of Democrats are unhappy. What’s amazing to me is that the fan bases of the two political teams react in such a similar manner. If we show one candidate gaining, people from the other team complain. Then, when the numbers shift, the other side complains. But the language and tone is pretty similar from both sides (and often pretty offensive).

12. What do your polls show Americans know about the state of our economy. Do they believe the President, who says the worst is behind us? Or are they changing their ways, simplifying, and bracing for the worst?

Americans are less pessimistic about the economy than they were a year ago, but most still believe we’re in a recession and that it’s going to last a long time. While perceptions of the overall economy have become less negative, there has been little change in perceptions of personal finances. People have come to believe it will take longer to recover than they ever imagined.

And the basic underpinnings of our system have been called into question. There was a time when “everybody” knew that they way to invest was to buy a home and let it grow in value. Now, just 53% believe their home is worth more than the mortgage.

Most Americans believe that cutting taxes is good for the economy and that cutting government spending is good for the economy. Few expect either of those things to happen.

Nearly half of all Americans expect their taxes to go up during the Obama years despite the oft-repeated campaign pledge to cut taxes for 95% of all Americans.

13. What is the one thing you want people to take from your book?

I want people to have hope because our nation is still yearning for hope and change. Unfortunately, if we rely on the politicians to bring about the change, there is no hope.

From the book...

Fortunately, in America, the politicians aren’t nearly as important as they think they are.

Despite the failures in the political world, two centuries of history has embedded self-governance deep into the soul of Americans from coast-to-coast.

We are all “created equal and endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Those rights include “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Because we can rely on our friends, our neighbors, and our nation’s historic commitment to self-governance, we can be confident about the future.

The American people can defeat the political and corporate elites who want to rule over us. We can secure the blessings of freedom for our children and grandchildren.

It will take a lot of work, and a temporary surge in public participation, but there is no reason to believe that self-governance in America will be defeated by the current crop of politicians.

In U.S. history, every generation has done something to leave the nation a little better off than the way they found it. For our generation, the challenge is to give the United States a “new birth of freedom” so that “government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Our children and our grandchildren are counting on us.

Acclaimed environmentalist and author of "Apocalypse Never" Michael Shellenberger joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday to warn us about the true goals and effects of climate alarmism: It's become a "secular religion" that lowers standards of living in developed countries, holds developing countries back, and has environmental progress "exactly wrong."

Michael is a Time "Hero of the Environment," Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He has been called a "environmental guru," "climate guru," "North America's leading public intellectual on clean energy," and "high priest" of the environmental humanist movement for his writings and TED talks, which have been viewed more than 5 million times. But when Michael penned a stunning article in Forbes saying, "On Behalf of Environmentalists, I Apologize for the Climate Scare", the article was pulled just a few hours later. (Read more here.)

On the show, Micheal talked about how environmental alarmism has overtaken scientific fact, leading to a number of unfortunate consequences. He said one of the problems is that rich nations are blocking poor nations from being able to industrialize. Instead, they are seeking to make poverty sustainable, rather than to make poverty history.

"As a cultural anthropologist, I've been traveling to poorer countries and interviewing small farmers for over 30 years. And, obviously there are a lot of causes why countries are poor, but there's no reason we should be helping them to stay poor," Michael said. "A few years ago, there was a movement to make poverty history ... [but] it got taken over by the climate alarmist movement, which has been focused on depriving poor countries, not just of fossil fuels they need to develop, but also the large hydroelectric dams."

He offered the example of the Congo, one of the poorest countries in the world. The Congo has been denied the resources needed to build large hydroelectric dams, which are absolutely essential to pull people out of poverty. And one of the main groups preventing poor countries from the gaining financing they need to to build dams is based in Berkeley, California — a city that gets its electricity from hydroelectric dams.

"It's just unconscionable ... there are major groups, including the Sierra Club, that support efforts to deprive poor countries of energy. And, honestly, they've taken over the World Bank [which] used to fund the basics of development: roads, electricity, sewage systems, flood control, dams," Micheal said.

"Environmentalism, apocalyptic environmentalism in particular, has become the dominant religion of supposedly secular people in the West. So, you know, it's people at the United Nations. It's people that are in very powerful positions who are trying to impose 'nature's order' on societies," he continued. "And, of course, the problem is that nobody can figure out what nature is, and what it's not. That's not a particular good basis for organizing your economy."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Dr. Voddie Baucham, Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia, joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to explain why he agrees with Vice President Mike Pence's refusal to say the phrase "Black Lives Matter."

Baucham, who recently drew national attention when his sermon titled "Ethnic Gnosticism" resurfaced online, said the phrase has been trademarked by a dangerous, violent, Marxist movement that doesn't care about black lives except to use them as political pawns.

"We have to separate this movement from the issues," Baucham warned. "I know that [Black Lives Matter] is a phrase that is part of an organization. It is a trademark phrase. And it's a phrase designed to use black people.

"That phrase dehumanizes black people, because it makes them pawns in a game that has nothing whatsoever to do with black people and their dignity. And has everything to do with a divisive agenda that is bigger than black people. That's why I'm not going to use that phrase, because I love black people. I love being black."

Baucham warned that Black Lives Matter -- a radical Marxist movement -- is using black people and communities to push a dangerous and divisive narrative. He encouraged Americans to educate themselves on the organization's agenda and belief statement.

"This movement is dangerous. This movement is vicious. And this movement uses black people," he emphasized. "And so if I'm really concerned about issues in the black community -- and I am -- then I have to refuse, and I have to repudiate that organization. Because they stand against that for which I am advocating."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

We're going to be doing an amazing broadcast on Thursday, July 2nd, and we will be broadcasting a really important moment. It is restoring truth. It is restoring our history. It is asking to you make a covenant with God. The covenant that was made by the Pilgrims. And it's giving you a road map of things that we can do, to be able to come back home, together.

All of us.

And it's never been more important. Join us live from the Standing Rock Ranch on Blaze TV, YouTube and Facebook at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday July, 2nd and restore the hope in you.

Make sure you join us and use the hashtag and spread the word, fight the mob today and you'll save $20 on your year of subscription. We need you now more than ever.

RESTORING HOPE: Join Glenn live from Standing Rock Ranch to restore the American covenant youtu.be

On last week's Wednesday night special, Glenn Beck revealed where the Black Lives Matter organization really gets its funding, and the dark money trail leading to a cast of familiar characters. Shortly after the program aired, one of BLM's fiscal sponsors, Thousand Currents, took down its board of directors page, which featured one of these shady characters:

Ex-Marxist professor and author of "Beyond Woke," Michael Rectenwald, joined Glenn Beck on the TV show to fill us in on the suspicious change he discovered on the Thousand Currents webpage and the Communist terrorists who is now helping run the organization. (Fortunately, the internet is forever, so it is still possible to view the board of directors page by looking at a web archive from the WayBack Machine.)

Rectenwald revealed the shocking life history of Thousand Currents' vice chair of the board, Susan Rosenberg, who spent 16 years in federal prison for her part in a series of increasingly violent acts of terrorism, including bombing the U.S. Capitol building, bombing an FBI building, and targeting police for assassination.

"Their whole campaign was one of unbelievably vicious, murderous cop killings, assassinations, and bombings," explained Rectenwald of Rosenberg's terror group known as the May 19th Communist Organization or M19.

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:


Glenn's full investigation into the dark origins of the funding behind Black Lives Matter is available for BlazeTV subscribers. Not a subscriber? Use promo code GLENN to get $10 off your BlazeTV subscription or start your 30-day free trial today.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.