Pollwatch: What happened to the public?


There went the public: Digby links to a Bloomberg report about a new Bloomberg poll. If the poll is right, the public has come down hard on the “cut spending” side.

For the poll results, click here:
DIGBY (9/14/11): See that bully pulpit do its magic:

Which of the following approaches is more likely to be successful in growing the U.S. economy and creating jobs?

Spending cuts and tax cuts will give businesses more confidence to hire—57%

Government needs to keep spending at current level now because the job market is so weak—13%

Government needs to spend more to stimulate the economy—23%

Not sure—7%
Seven percent told the truth. Of the rest, the bulk came down on the “cut spending” side.

Presumably, this is the tea party's fault, although they only constitute maybe twenty percent of the public.

Is this a flip from recent polling? It seems to us that other polls have suggested at times that the public was developing some stimulus-friendly views. At any rate, the public is subject to constant barrages of propaganda from conservative sources. Down through the long lazy decades, the liberal world has rarely tried to create forums in which voters will be schooled in other outlooks.

That said, we do enjoy calling them names. If the Bloomberg poll is correct, this approach isn’t working yet.


  1. So, these polls are are a solid foundation for drawing conclusions? I ask because the last time I saw polls mentioned here, the pollsters were called a bunch of names.

  2. Regarding "stimulus-friendly views," IMHO the polls that get cited on what the government should do to help the economy tend to establish a choice between something like "deficit reduction" and something like "jobs." Respondents opt for "jobs" over "deficit reduction," and the liberal blogosphere exults.

    But I've been trying to point out for a long time that support for "jobs" doesn't necessarily mean endorsing the notion that the way the government creates jobs is to spend money. It seems obvious to liberals and Keynesians like a lot of us, and maybe even to the pollsters designing the questions.

    But these results, alas, suggest that the public wants the government to "create jobs" BY dishing out tax cuts -- as opposed to having to make a politically dicey Hobson's choice between more-spending-and-more-jobs on the one hand and less-spending-and-fewer-jobs on the other.

    Or, perhaps, that they like the word "hire" better than they like the word "stimulate," and thus the prospect of Doing A Thing that leads to _businesses_ _hiring_ will always rate more highly than Doing A Thing that leads to _governments_ _stimulating_.

    (Even in the questions it's not at all clear that when the government "stimulates the economy," that MEANS that people who aren't currently working get hired to do stuff. I wouldn't be so sure what survey respondents even envision happening when the government stimulates the economy. In those terms, it's all very abstract.)

  3. I don't want to sound wonkish, but a not too old Moody's chart listed multiplier functions for tax cuts and spending increases.

    The lowest spending increase figure 1.26 was for Issue General aid to State Governments.

    The highest tax cut gain was 1.29 Payroll Tax Holiday.

    The highest spending gain was 1.73 for a Temporary Increase in Food Stamps.

    The lowest tax cut gain was .29 Make Bush Tax cuts permanent.

    While Keynesians will make sense of this, most Americans and journalists will not.

    Should the President lecture us on this?

    Perhaps labor unions should sponser TV specials to enlighten the public.

    One thing is sure. We can't expect Paul Krugman and Michael Moore to do all the heavy lifting.

  4. I think A is the economy that people want to have but C is the economy they have right now.

  5. I go away for a week and you (majestic plural): switch sites, add comments, and post 21 times!!! The humanity! It's the end of the world as we know it.

    Seriously, I've seriously enjoyed reading your daily howling for a long time (me love you for the same amount of time). Thanks, and take care!

    Mark Erickson, as for the moniker, I had it first.

  6. "Down through the long lazy decades, the liberal world has rarely tried to create forums in which voters will be schooled in other outlooks.

    That said, we do enjoy calling them names. If the Bloomberg poll is correct, this approach isn’t working yet."

    Spot on. While it's obvious corporate media is never going to provide such a forum, the liberal blogosphere's discursive bubble is always discouraging.

    Even those that avoid insult seem incapable of entertaining alternative approaches, as if our present numbers are sufficient to reverse the nation's long descent.

  7. The public is barraged with constant propaganda from leftist sources too. Starting with the President.

    And, being thoughtful, independent and free-thinking people they have made up their minds. Why do you disparage them so for doing this? You're no smarter than they, nor are you morally superior to them.

  8. "Spending cuts and tax cuts will give businesses more confidence to hire—57%"

    Isn't this exactly what President Obama has been endorsing until recently? Isn't this part of the "balanced approach" he endorsed leading up to the Debt Limit Ceiling crisis with the GOP? And hasn't this approach proved to be wrong again and again (cf. 1980-1992, 2001-2008, etc.)?

    People are reflecting what they hear. We have almost no major liberal politician, save Bernie Sanders, regularly articulating even the standard Keynesian view. We have commentators like Paul Krugman, Dean Baker, and others, who do so, but against them we have the steady barrage from the right, and echoes of right-leaning frames and talking points from many on the supposed "left," especially in the establishment media and in Congress.

    So why is it surprising that large majorities of the public feel this way? They internalize the messages they hear day in, day out.

  9. Bob, if you read the line above the poll results you'll see that Digby is actually blaming President Obama, by referencing the bully pulpit "magic". She's not blaming Tea Partiers, at least not in this post. And yeah, why is this poll so good while the other one is terrible? Maybe these questions were just as bad, and don't really measure true public opinion.

    Thanks for the format change and the adding of comments - welcome to the 21st century Internet!