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Thursday, August 12, 2010


Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Democracy Corps, and Campaign for Amerca's Future released a new poll this morning on the economy with a press call featuring pollster Stan Greenberg, Campaign For America's Future's Robert Borosage and MoveOn.org's Nita Chaudhary.

The most salient result from the polling, said Greenberg is that it reflected that the electorate is "remarkably sophisticated about the economic crisis and its causes" and hold the firm belief that the only way to address the deficit long term is with investment in the economy. The survey of 1,000 people who voted in 2008 was conducted at the end of July. Here are the key findings:

  • 68 percent said they would oppose making major spending cuts in Social Security and Medicare to reduce the deficit, while 28 percent said they would favor cutting those programs. That included 61 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of independents.
  • Strong majorities support progressive solutions for addressing the federal deficit: 63 percent back lifting the Social Security cap on incomes higher than $107,000 a year; 64 percent would favor eliminating tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs; 62 percent would support a tax on excessive Wall Street bank profits.
  • Strong majorities also oppose common conservative proposals for addressing the budget deficit: 65 percent oppose raising the Social Security retirement age to 70; 65 percent oppose replacing Medicare with a private sector voucher; 62 percent oppose a 3 percent federal sales tax; 60 percent oppose raising the Medicare age from 65 to 67.
  • More people support a message that embraces the need for both investments in our future and reduce the deficit over time (52 percent) than a message that only stresses cuts in spending (42 percent). Also, almost equal percentages of respondents were favorable toward “a plan to invest in new industries and rebuild the country over the next five years” (60 percent) and “a plan to dramatically reduce the deficit over five years” (61 percent).
  • 62 percent of respondents support more federal to states once they understand that the aid comes in the context of states laying off teachers, first responders and other essential workers due to the recession. That includes 55 percent of independents and 48 percent of Republicans.
  • 60 percent of those surveyed responded positively to an economic message that said that “we have a budget deficit, but ... we also have a massive public investment deficit” that requires us to “rebuild the infrastructure that is vital to our economy” and to the economic growth that will “generate revenues to help pay down the budget deficit.” This message tests better than any other progressive message on investment as well as more conservative messages focused on spending cuts.

Here's what that looks like:

Click the image to enlarge.

Note two of the hot political debates at the moment: letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire polls at 54 percent, while raising the retirement age to 70 nets 33 percent.

As Bob Borosage said on the call, "Republicans are getting this exactly wrong" politically and in terms of policy when they argue the way out of economic ruin is to slash spending, turn Medicare into a voucher program (Paul Ryan's big "roadmap" idea) and cut Social Security benefits or raise the retirement age. These are highly unpopular. And the average American voter is a lot smarter than the average Republican in Congress, because they understand that the only way to grow out of this economic crisis is with aggressive investment in jobs and infrastructure, and that that is necessary to reduce deficits.

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