Monday, September 22, 2008


Scott Adams of Dilbert fame wanted a non-partisan opinion on which candidate would be best for the economy.

Here're the results:

Rank   Issues                            Obama      McCain     No Diff.

1          Education                          59%           14%           27%


2          Health care                        65%           20%           15%


3          International trade              26%           51%           23%


4          Energy                              61%           22%           17%


5          Encouraging
Technology/innovation       43%           23%           34%


6          Wars and 
homeland security              58%           30%           11%


7          Mortgage/housing crisis     41%           18%           41%


8          Social Security                  40%           24%           35%


9          Environmental policy          72%             9%           19%


10        Reducing the deficit           37%           29%           33%


11        Immigration                       33%           29%           38%


12        Increasing taxes                 79%           14%             7%

            on wealthy


13        Reducing waste                 16%           38%           46%

            in government


The economists in the survey favor Obama on 11 of the top 13 issues. But keep in mind that 48% are Democrats and only 17% are Republicans. Among Independents, things are less clear, with 54% thinking that in the long run there would either be no difference between the candidates or McCain would do better.

Now, as you can see, Adams says this is probably skewed because the majority of economists are Democrat, and he says that's because a lot of them pull their paycheck from the world of academia, and we all know that college professors are liberal scum (my sarcasm, not his - follow the link above for his actual, unfiltered thoughts).

Here are the stats on party affiliation:
48% Democrats
17% Republicans
27% Independents
3% Libertarian
5% Other or not registered

I read the original article and gave it no more than a mental "hmmm" and moved on.

Then a few days later it hit me: most economists are Democrats no matter how you try equivocate, dismiss, or disassemble it. That in itself says something.

In other words, economists by definition would want the best economy possible, and if the majority of them are Democrat, they must think that the Democrat's handling of the economy is the best.

I've run into stat after stat the last few months that the middle class is always in better shape when Dems run the roost, and things go badly when Repubs do (Carter notwithstanding).

How much more straightforward can ya get?

Oh, and funny how the point was to get a non-partisan opinion, and apparently - for this topic anyway - no such thing exists.


Anonymous said...

Yahm wrote: "most economists are Democrats no matter how you try equivocate, dismiss, or disassemble it. That in itself says something."

True dat. And I would apply it across the board, to every academic field. People who are actually paid to think about issues are overwhelmingly Democrats. It's easy to dismiss this in liberal arts - it's been a long time since I've heard anyone from an English or Sociology or (God forbid) Women's Studies department say anything sensible - but how do Republicans explain the fact that Physics and Engineering departments are also strongly Democratic?

My explanation: The modern Republican Party is not just pursuing ridiculous policies, it is openly mocking the very idea of expertise while doing so. Witness Sarah Palin's statements to that effect - or, for that matter, witness the fact that Sarah Palin is a VP candidate at all. People who spend their careers studying, reading, reaching informed opinions, and having fact-based discussions with others who are equally well-informed, are repelled by today's Republicans.

Having said that, it's only fair to acknowledge that the Republican Party has not always been like this. People of my parents' generation assure me that in the 50's and 60's Republican presented themselves, with considerable justification, as the party of competence. Politicians who thought before speaking, listened to experts before making decisions, made sure their appointees were competent, and could be trusted to run the country as well as humanly possible (while, naturally, enriching themselves in the process). So, no, I don't hate the Republican Party per se. I'm just disgusted with its current incarnation.


Yahmdallah said...

Great comment Joel. Thanks!

Growing up, I knew a lot of those old-school Repubs who thought competence was a pretty cool idea, too.

Haven't met many lately, tho.