PEW READS THE NUMBERS THROUGH BELTWAY-COLORED GLASSES
I've always thought Pew polls were on the up-and-up, and I still think that's true. But I guess it's impossible for Pew to completely banish the biases of the Beltway from its polling. Check out this subhead in Pew's write-up of its latest survey:
Now check out the graph that's meant to illustrate this point:
Does that tell you that "most" Americans "want deficit efforts focused largely on spending cuts"?
What it tells me is that the overwhelming majority of Americans (76%) want a mixed approach -- an utter rejection of the GOP's spending-cuts-only approach, which gets just 19% support.
Then, when they're forced to choose a mix, Pew asks them to choose either "mostly spending cuts" or "mostly tax increases" -- even though no one is actually proposing a mix that's "mostly tax increases." Given that choice, there's a resounding rejection of a proposal no one is making.
A sequester-avoidance proposal by Senate Democrats has a 50-50 mix of tax increases and spending cuts. Yes, that proposal is dead on arrival because it's unacceptable to Republicans -- but instead of asking about a mix no one is proposing, why didn't Pew ask about this? I think a lot of Americans would approve of a 50-50 mix -- though I guess we'll never know, at least from Pew. Beltway austerianism so pervades our politics that Pew's questions and data summaries had to be skewed accordingly.