THE ANGRY LINE UP TO VOTE
Tue, 12 Oct 2010 18:47:02
FROM ABC NEWS. (My commentary in bold.)
All told, 85 percent of Americans are either angry about the economy or at least dissatisfied with it, according to a survey produced for ABC and Yahoo! News by Langer Research Associates. That makes economic discontent even higher than anger or dissatisfaction with "the way the federal government is working," at 71 percent in an ABC News/Washington Post poll last week.
What's crucial is not just the net total, but the "anger" number -- 25 percent of all adults in this survey, with broad political differences. Among registered voters, just 12 percent of Democrats are angry about the economy. That jumps to 30 percent of independents, and among Republicans it soars to a remarkable 41 percent -- an extraordinary number to express so strong an emotion.
Free-floating anger at something as abstract as "the economy" doesn't lead to new policy initiatives; it just ups the frustration level and eventually leads to a search for the not-me who's behind it all.
Among those who are angry about the economy, 54 percent blame both parties equally. But 35 percent say they're angrier with the Democrats -- more than triple the number, 10 percent, who aim their ire at the Republicans. To the extent that anger equals motivation, that 25-point differential explains some of the GOP advantage in pre-election polls.
An angry electorate is unable to differentiate between the Obama Democrats who are doing their best to fix a broken system and the Republican minority doing everything it can to keep it broken.
Mere dissatisfaction, though, is less of a motivator; in the ABC/Post poll, it was angry people who were the most apt to say they're certain to vote.
They think they're "throwing out the bums" when all they're doing is opening the doors of Congress to a third-rate gaggle of ideaologues, self-serving businessmen and religious wingnuts.
A sense that the economy's begin to recover, meanwhile, has diminished from its level last winter. In an ABC/Post poll last February 45 percent of Americans said that regardless of whether the recession was over, they felt the economy at least had begin to recover. Today, fewer than 34 percent in this poll, say so.
We're finally waking up to the fact that the crash of '08 was the end of the bubble life. It's impossible to replace those two trillion dollars' worth of bogus assets that disappeared overnight. Our infrastructure sucks. Our colleges are graded more on the football field than in the classroom. Corporate America would rather sit on its vast stash of cash than create jobs. We're screwed, and the best we've come up with thus far is getting angry.
Again the gloom is sharply partisan. Among registered voters who are Democrats, 46 percent say the economy's begun to recover; among independents 31 percent; and among Republicans, just 24 percent -- half its level among their political opposites. No surprise. Gloom and doom is the GOP stock in trade.
Even with the partisanship, the decline vs. last February in a sense of economic improvement is general -- down by 11 points overall; by 9 and 10 points, respectively, among Republicans and Democrats, and by 15 points among independents. In addition to Democrats, optimism's highest among higher-income adults -- 45 percent of those in $100,000+ households say some recovery's begun, vs. 32 percent of those with incomes less than $50,000.
It's a different reality when you're making less than $50K a year. Put on those $100K glasses, and it's a much rosier world.