Steve Benen highlights a result in a new Bloomberg poll: survey respondents are absolutely wrong about what's happening to the budget deficit in America.
... there was one question in the poll that struck me as especially important: "Let's turn to the federal budget deficit. This is the amount the government spends that is more than the amount it takes in from taxes and other revenue. Is it your sense that this year the deficit is getting bigger or getting smaller, or is it staying about the same as last year?"So deficits are shrinking, but people overwhelmingly believe deficits are growing.
... in the midst of a major national debate over America's finances, 90% of Americans are wrong about the one basic detail that probably matters most in the conversation, while only 6% -- 6%! -- are correct.
For the record, last year, over President Obama's first four years, the deficit shrunk by about $300 billion. This year, the deficit is projected to be about $600 billion smaller than when the president took office....
Now, let's turn to the headline results of the poll:
Americans want Congress to delay steep spending cuts to give the economic recovery more time to take hold, according to a Bloomberg News poll....Put these two results together and what do you learn? You learn that Americans reject austerity as a budget-shrinking measure even though they think the budget is much more out of control than it actually is. Even laboring under that misconception, they think it's a bad time for belt-tightening.
Fifty-four percent of poll respondents favor postponing $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts during the next nine years beginning on March 1, compared with 40 percent who say Congress should act now before the deficit gets out of control, in the poll conducted Feb. 15-18....
And the poll, like most polls, shows that the public hates deficits. The public thinks the government has a horrible spending problem. And yet ... the public prioritizes economic growth. Because, clearly, the economy still sucks for most Americans, and dealing with that problem is most Americans' top priority.
So back off, austerians.