Sunday, June 27, 2010

Post Softens Language on Deficit; Meanwhile, AP Serves up a Whopper of its Own

On Friday, the Post's Lori Montgomery used improved language regarding the public's view of the deficit:
Since then, concern about the deficit has risen dramatically among lawmakers in both parties, many of whom will face voters in this fall's midterm elections.
It's all factually true, but the insinuation -- that voters will punish lawmakers over deficit issues -- is questionable. Here's the situation: there are voters who care about the deficit. But aren't these folks likely to be firm Republican voters anyway? We need more polling on this matter. For now, the notion that swing voters in key senate races are also the folks who care about the deficit more than about jobs is something that there's no particular reason to believe until it is numerically demonstrated.

Meanwhile, in an article Thursday about the jobs bill (h/t reader Daniel DeVoto), Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor says:
The bill had long been considered a must-pass measure, but the political sands had shifted since it was first passed in March. That vote came in the wake of a political scalding for Republicans after Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., blocked a short-term extension of jobless aid.

In the interim, however, the debt crisis in Europe and growing anxiety on deficits and debt among voters turned Republicans against the legislation, even though it was cut considerably.
It's hard to do a comparison of the polling from then (mid March) to now; many of the polls did not ask the exact same questions then. Public concern about the deficit may well have gone up a few ticks (thanks in no small report to reporting like this), but remains small. To suggest that public concern about the deficit is some kind of major trend -- and one with political implications -- is questionable at best.


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