USAToday/Pew: If You Don't Count Jobs/Economy, Deficit is Totally Public's Top Priority!
USAToday and Pew are out with a poll this morning, and there are two main angles they and others are pushing. First, that on several big issues, the public trusts Obama more than Republicans leaders. Ok, good to know. Second, they asked which of those issues is people's top priority. Well, deficit comes in at #1, beating guns, immigration, and climate change! Thus ABC headlines: "Deficit Tops Public’s Priorities."
This would be notable indeed, since for years the public's top priorities, in poll after poll, have been "jobs" or "the economy." It's true that "deficit" has been going up and up in the polls, quickly, which is troubling, and not surprising given the huge campaign and unbelievable amounts of money and power behind it. But despite that push, the public still cares more about jobs and the state of the economy generally, thankfully.
So why has deficit now suddenly topped jobs/economy in this poll? Only because USAToday/Pew simply didn't offer respondents jobs/economy as one of the four choices (question 7).
If you look at Pew's own most recent poll that lets people give a variety of answers for top priority, from just last month, you'll see that "strengthening economy" and "improving job situation" outrank "reducing budget deficit."
(And now the most giant hat tip to Dan Froomkin, whose twitter feed this morning was the source of basically everything in this post.)