Of all the chin-stroke-inducing questions in the new WashPost/ABC News poll, this one stands out. Here’s the question and the trend since March.
Do you think large cuts in federal spending would do more to (create jobs) or do more to (cut jobs) in this country?
Create jobs - 47% (+6)
Cut jobs - 44% (-1)
Economists disagree; they say cutting spending puts downward pressure on employment in the short term. This poll’s victims weren’t asked about short vs. long term. If they were thinking about the future, there’s reason to believe that de-regulation and cuts will lead to more investment down the line. If they weren’t, I assume we’re witnessing another casualty of the stimulus and its blowback.
Funny enough, voters seem to be more open to tax hikes than they are to more spending. Entitlement austerity programs are unpopular – the 8-point deficit of support for raising the Medicare eligibility age is the best that idea’s ever done, but it’s not the kind of thing a president should be happy about seeking re-election with. Meanwhile, support for a tax hike on people making over $250,000 is at 72 percent, support for raising the Social Security tax cap is at 66 percent, and taxing hedge fund managers is at 64 percent. Republicans are shooting down any deal with those aspects in it.
The poll’s sample is 32 percent Democratic and 26 percent Republican, on the low end of D advantages in these studies.