Foreign aid is one of those subjects which people are notoriously misinformed about.
Teenage pregnancy, crime, job-seekers allowance, benefit fraud, and foreign aid, are all subjects which papers like the Daily Mail like to tell their readers the "shocking truth" about.
Only they don't.
Instead they deliberately mislead their readers and tell them a whole bunch of half truths, lies, and omissions.
As a consequence people express opinions on matters that they actually know very little about.
Perceptions are not reality
26% of people think foreign aid is one of the top 2-3 items government spends most money on, when it actually made up 1.1% of expenditure (£7.9bn) in the 2011/12 financial year. More people select this as a top item of expenditure than pensions (which cost nearly ten times as much, £74bn) and education in the UK (£51.5bn)
And the situation is no different in the United States.
American Public Overestimates U.S. Foreign Aid
Asked to estimate how much of the federal budget goes to foreign aid the median estimate is 25 percent. Asked how much they thought would be an "appropriate" percentage the median response is 10 percent. In fact just 1 percent of the federal budget goes to foreign aid. Even if one only includes the discretionary part of the federal budget, foreign aid represents only 2.6 percent.
Of course people are going to express the opinion that foreign aid is excessive when they have been repeatedly mislead about the actual facts.
The US opinion poll shows how people can in fact believe that foreign aid should be at a higher level than it actually is in reality.
But hey, well done the right-wing gutter-press.......another triumph of ignorance over truth for them.