Realistically, the public isn’t particularly well-equipped to judge policies based on itheir economic merits. Generally, people will go with some combination of their gut feel and whichever argument sounds best in the media.
So the news that a NYT/CBS poll finds the public growing increasingly concerned about the deficit (moreso even, it seems, than the economy, though the two can’t really be separated) is a reflection of the success of the anti-spenders in shifting the debate
As Mr. Obama finishes his fifth month in office and assumes greater ownership of the problems he inherited, Americans are alarmed by the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been doled out to boost the economy. A majority said the government should instead focus on reducing the federal deficit.
The poll highlights the political and governing challenges on the horizon for Mr. Obama, including the towering federal budget deficit, which is expected to push the national debt to levels that many economists say could threaten the economy’s long-term vitality. Six in 10 people surveyed said the administration has yet to develop a clear plan for dealing with the deficit, including 65 per cent of independents.
Mr. Obama, in an interview on Tuesday with CNBC and The New York Times, said the budget deficit was “something that keeps me awake at night.” Read the whole thing >
Granted, Obama is still riding high. But it matches the numbers in a WSJ/NBC poll, and Congressmen are already in 2010 re-election mode. So when it comes to all kinds of things like stimulus and healthcare spending, a poll like this will really cause some to get nervous about supporting big plans. It also doesn’t help that the market has rallied so hard, somewhat alleving people’s concerns about the immediate economy.
Obama: lame duck?