In a memorable Republican presidential debate moment last month, Texas Gov. Rick Perry couldn’t remember the third government agency he’d eliminate if elected president. Another candidate, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), says if he’s elected he’ll get rid of five federal agencies: Commerce, Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, and Interior. 

Which federal agencies are the American people most willing to eliminate or consolidate? The Reason-Rupe poll finds 45 percent of Americans are ready to eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development and 41 percent would eliminate the Department of Energy.

Those who would abolish or keep the departments of Housing and Urban Development and Interior are within the margin of error, revealing that Americans are evenly divided over whether to abolish and consolidate these departments or keep them as is.

The Department of Education was on both Paul’s and Perry’s lists to cut, but 61 percent of Americans want to keep it, while just 34 percent say eliminate it. Americans also seem to favor a federal role in transportation, with 59 percent opposed to abolishing the Department of Transportation. Sixty percent also oppose abolishing the Department of Homeland Security, with 34 percent in favor of abolishing and consolidating it.

Nevertheless, the fact that 30-45 percent of the population wants to consolidate the federal bureaucracy is nothing to scoff at. These results suggest that proposing to abolish and consolidate federal departments is not a fringe view.

Some have proposed abolishing or consolidating certain federal agencies and departments to reduce the deficit. I’m going to read you a list of federal agencies and departments. Please let me know if you would favor abolishing and consolidating its functions, or prefer to keep it as is. The first one is, the Department of...

Find full Reason-Rupe Q4 2011 poll results, question wording, and methodology here.

The Reason-Rupe Q4 2011 poll collected a nationally representative sample of 1200 respondents, aged 18 and older from all 50 states and the District of Columbia using live telephone interviews from December 1-13. Interviews were conducted on both landline and mobile phones. The margin of sampling error for this poll is +/- 3 percent. 

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