A new Reason-Rupe poll out today finds that Americans think that the government spends their tax money very, very inefficiently. When asked how much money the government "wastes," respondents agreed across the board that the figure is around 50 cents of every dollar. This holds true for traditional Democratic constitutencies: nonwhites think the government wastes 47 cents of every dollar and people with post-graduate degrees are the most charitable - but still think the government wastes 44 cents of every dollar.
Another question of interest is that the poll asked Americans if they thought the federal government spends their money better than if they would donate to charity. Only 17% of Americans thought that their money is spent better by the government than if it had been donated to charity. (To be fair, 41% said that the government spending money is about as efficient as private charity, which is pretty high!)
The Wisdom of Bastiat, as Revealed by Great Moments in Federal, State, and Local Government | Daniel J. Mitchell