November 14, 1995
Web posted at: 12:30 a.m. EST
CNN and Time Magazine have launched a new project, aimed at finding out what you, the voters, think the issues are and what you think the candidates should be talking about.
We've polled more than 4,000 of you, and we'll be coming back to those people from now until Election Day, 1996. CNN Correspondent Bruce Morton delivers the first in a series of reports on what the voters think.
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J. R. Phillips, 41, lives in Dacula, Georgia, and drives one of those big transporters that ferry cars to dealers. One thing more about Phillips -- he despises politicians.
"You send a representative to Washington, you'll never hear from him. He'll never send out a referendum or a ballot. He'll never ask you how you feel about an issue before he votes away $50 billion or sells out 5,000 jobs. He'll never ask you. There's something wrong, people."
What's wrong, Phillips thinks, is that government is too big. A lot of voters agree, voters like 26-year-old Adrienne Dunne.
"I think government is too involved," Dunne says. "I think people would be a lot better off if government wasn't so involved in their lives."
Miami store-owner Roberto Ruiz agrees with Dunne.
"The government needs to stay away from the day to day operation of the lives of American people," he says. "The contract with America stated that. It's a good contract."
In fact, 50 percent of our voters think government tries to do too much. And even more, 55 percent think government poses a threat to its people. Waco and Ruby Ridge may have added to that.
But at the same time, many voters worry that the Republican Congress is going too far, too fast, in cutting government.
Deborah Dorm is a corrections officer in Baltimore. She says, "They're in a hurry to cut so many things that don't really need cutting."
Liz DeBartolo, a resource analyst for a San Francisco power company, says, "I don't know that government is too big as much as I think it's mismanaged ... I don't think that all the cuts in Medicare are appropriate."
Sixty percent of the voters polled thought the Republicans were cutting too much. Proposed cuts in future Medicare spending were even less popular.
Three years ago, the Clinton campaign theme was, "It's the economy, stupid." Not today. Fifty-one percent of voters polled say they're better off now than they were three years ago.
Dunne is about to lose her job, but even so, she says, "I don't know if that's because I believe in the American dream or what's going on in this country with government and financially, but I personally believe I'll do okay."
The most worried people are the boomers, families like Michael and Lucille Schiano, from New York's Staten Island.
"I'd have to say I'm worse off because I incurred more expenses with children going to college ... I think my family will sustain the way they have been, but I don't see any chance to great growth."
Our voters had other concerns, worries about race, for instance. But the theme we heard most often may have been, the government just doesn't hear us.
Michael Schiano, 19, says, "I feel they pay no attention to me. Even though I turned 18, and have the right to vote, I still feel I am not heard. Not me personally, but my generation."
"If there was another party, another way to go, I'd go that way," says Brice.
"It doesn't affect me that this Republican over here said something that offended the Democrats," says Phillips. "I could care less. And I think every man here would feel the same way, everyone out there. It doesn't affect me. What affects me is companies closing, what affects me is U.S. Losing interest overseas, what affects me are the illnesses, the diseases, the things we fight everyday, and they just put them on hold when they want to have an argument with each other or a big party."
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