Poll: Americans Oppose Non-Existent Threat Of Replacing Dollar

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March 31, 2009 9:41 a.m.

A new Rasmussen poll finds that Michele Bachmann’s new pet issue of preventing Americans from being sucked into a new one-world government currency — a threat that doesn’t actually exist — could potentially have some real popular appeal.

Keep in mind that this would hardly be the first time that public opinion turned on things that weren’t true. It can very often be more important what voters think is being proposed, rather than what is actually going on.

The pollster’s analysis acknowledges: “At issue is not replacing the money in Americans’ wallets but what currency will be the world standard against which all other monies are measured.” But the questions themselves don’t clearly make this distinction for the respondents, asking about the proposal “to replace the dollar with a new global currency.”

To a degree, this was a deliberate choice, Scott Rasmussen told TPM. “I was really curious where the suspicion level was going to be on this particular question,” said Rasmussen, noting that this is a story that hasn’t been discussed or explained very much, and where public opinion is very fluid.Rasmussen found that only 19% are following the issue very closely. But a 46% plurality would favor a bill to prevent the dollar from being replaced — that’s Bachmann’s bill, though she isn’t named — and 33% would oppose the bill. When asked whether the proposals are “designed to help the global economy or to weaken the economic power of the United States,” 49% say it’s about weakening the United States, to only 21% saying it’s about helping the global economy. And 70% say it’s very important that the dollar remain the currency of the United States, with 18% somewhat important.

Now remember that even if a new global money were adopted in some form, the dollar would not actually be replaced as the currency of the United States in domestic use. But what if that misperception were to linger in the public’s mind, and efforts failed to convince people otherwise? Would Bachmann and others have real political capital?

“If the idea got around that this meant replacing the currency in your wallet,” Rasmussen told me, “then absolutely there would be support building for protecting the dollar.”

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