April 19, 2011 Leave a comment
Kevin Drum highlights this seeming contradiction from a recent opinion poll:
Greg Sargent notes a contradiction:
The poll finds that 63 percent of independents support dealing with the deficit by raising taxes on those over $250,000. It also finds that only 23 percent of independents support cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, versus 75 percent who oppose such cuts. Indys are far more in agreement with Obama than with Republicans on the two core questions at the heart of the fiscal debate right now.
Yet the poll also finds that only 28 percent approve of Obama’s handling of the deficit, versus 68 percent who disapprove.
How can this be? What explains such odd behavior?
This will probably satisfy no one, but I think the answer is pretty simple. First: the vast, vast majority of independents don’t really have any idea what Obama’s plan to handle the deficit is. They just know that (a) the deficit is high and (b) Obama is president. Beyond that, there are kids to get to school, laundry to be done, bosses to be pleased, and leaky faucets to be fixed. The details of the deficit debate are just a bit of partisan background noise that they haven’t really parsed yet.
Agreed, but I think even that goes too far. Asking people what they think about how “Obama is handling the deficit” or cuts to Medicare, which they have absolutely no clue about, makes about as much sense as asking them to explain the Higgs Boson. Who they are going to vote for and whether they approve of the president– I’ll take those– most anything more complicated is little more than noise.