Wow, this is pretty interesting. I just learned on CNN.com that the cartoonist who draws “Dilbert” commissioned a survey of 500 economists from the American Economic Association (what I’m sure is the largest U.S. association of professional economists), asking them which presidential candidate they preferred on a variety of economic issues. Note that “reducing the deficit” ranked 10th in priority out of 20 issues–the top two issues being education and health care, and the last being eliminating the estate tax. (Those top and bottom rankings alone should give everyone at least some faith in economists as human beings.)
On the issue of reducing the deficit, 37 percent favored Obama’s position (i.e., presumably thought Obama would be more successful), 29 percent favored McCain’s, and 33 percent said there would be no difference. Seems about right given what we know of the candidates’ proposals and how much they are likely to increase the deficit. On the mortgage/housing crisis (ranked #7 in priority), 41 percent favored Obama, and just 18 percent favored McCain–with 41 percent saying there would be no difference. (Sounds like McCain has some convincing to do regarding the latest “ouch“, at least among folks who well understand economics.) Now, on “reducing waste in government,” the numbers are just about the opposite: 16 percent favor Obama, 38 percent favor McCain, and 46 percent say there would be no difference–but right now how concerned are voters over earmarks and “porkbarrel” spending compared with the financial market crisis we’re in?