• News
  • Celebrities
  • Finance
  • Crypto
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Health
  • Others

How Afraid of the Debt Are Americans?

A few weeks ago, I noted that in a new Gallup poll, Americans ranked terrorism and the national debt evenly — above health care costs, unemployment and climate change — as the most pressing issues for the country. Here’s the chart:

Wellbeing-480x350.png
Wellbeing-480x350.png

The Gallup poll got a lot of play in the blogosphere, as one could argue it showed that deficit hawks — Blue Dog Democrats and fiscal conservatives, mostly — had succeeded in scaring the bejesus out of Americans and convincing them of the immediate need to start slashing the federal budget. When adding up “extremely serious” and “very serious,” 79 percent of Americans are worried about terrorism and debt, but unemployment still takes the cake, concerning 83 percent. And cooler academic minds argued that one poll does not not indicate a new political reality. Monkey Cage blogger and political scientist Andrew Gelman, for instance, pointed to a good blog post from Ben Somberg on the issue. Somberg argues that this is only one survey — and in many others, Americans report being far more concerned with the immediate issue of crisis levels of unemployment than with the long-term issue of the United States’ unsustainable debt.

A Pew Research/National Journal poll from early June asked, “Which of the following national economic issues worries you most?” Number one was “job situation” with 41 percent. “Federal budget deficit” got 23 percent.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll from early May asked, “Please tell me which one of these items you think should be the top priority for the federal government.” Sure enough, “job creation and economic growth” won with 35 percent. “The deficit and government spending” got 20 percent.

A Fox News poll also in early May got even more dramatic results. “Economy and jobs” topped the priority list with 47 percent, while “deficit, spending” garnered only 15 percent.

A CBS/NYT poll in early April found 27 percent prioritizing “jobs,” 27 percent the “economy” and 5 percent prioritizing “budget deficit/national debt.”

The only recent poll that gives the slightest hint of support…is the USA Today/Gallup poll from late May (not even their newest). Participants were asked, “How serious a threat to the future well-being of the United States do you consider each of the following?” For “federal government debt,” 40 percent said extremely serious, 39 percent very serious, and 15 percent somewhat serious. For “unemployment,” 33 percent said extremely serious, 50 percent said very serious and 15 percent said somewhat serious. If you use only the “extremely serious” numbers, you get 7 percent more for the debt. …

And in fact a newer Gallup poll, from a week ago, asking, “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?,” finds the economy and jobs on top. “Economy in general” gets 28 percent, “unemployment/jobs” gets 21 percent and “federal budget deficit” gets 7 percent.

I think that the academics are right here. Poll after poll and survey after survey show that Americans want Congress to help stave off job losses and get people back to work, and would not mind a bit more deficit spending now, particularly if Congress commits to serious debt reduction once the recovery has taken a better hold. But in the screwy logic of Washington, one poll can be stronger than a dozen. Politicians have started trotting out that Gallup survey showing that Americans fear debt and terrorism above all. In a letter to The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein,* Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) used the Gallup poll as justification for holding up the much-whittled-down and much-needed jobs bill currently floundering in the Senate. And Nelson’s intransigence and concern about the deficit are enough to effectively kill that bill — no matter how many other senators and how many millions of Americans support it.

*Full disclosure: In the romantic phrasing of the census, Ezra is my “unmarried domestic partner.”

Discussion & Comments (0)

    Recent Articles

    • Things You Should Know about North America

      Things You Should Know about North America

      Get to know more about North America.

    • Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Paula Seling's experience on the Eurovision stage led her to declare that "Eurovision is an unpredictable contest". Which may explain the success of the young Lena from Germany, about whom the predictions before the event did not offer much chances for victory.

    • VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      Have you ever contemplated creating a user-friendly site dedicated to sports-related free live streaming channels?

    • Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia users are able to watch thousands of videos and other contents online. XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia New is a piece of software that enables people to watch videos online without having to pay for memberships. On a graphics card, the XNXubd also provides some of the best gaming and virtual reality experiences.

    • Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      A new edition of the Video Editor Apk for xVideostudio.Video Studio has all the latest features, including support for multiple video download formats in HD, FHD, and even 4K resolutions.

    • 9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      Masturbation is a common activity for men and women. It's a natural and risk-free way to explore your body, experience pleasure, and release sexual tension.

    • Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Without having to sign up or pay anything, you can watch movies online for free with SFlix. It has more than 10,000 movies and television shows.

    • Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Collins (born May 11, 1997) is a rapper from the United States. Leray started publishing songs to SoundCloud in 2014, and in 2018 she released her breakthrough track "Huddy" as well as her first mixtape, Everythingcoz.

    • Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Are you in a bind and looking for a place to obtain free mp3 songs? Never again will you need to bother, since this article has everything necessary to obtain your solution. Download free music from MyfreeMP3.com, one of the world's most popular websites.