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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Griper Blade: Voters Like Spending Cuts -- Until They Become Real

In looking at a poll in The Hill, Ezra Klein explains a seemingly strange political fact; that voters appear to want to have their cake and eat it too.
In 1967, the political scientists Lloyd Free and Hadley Cantrill wrote that Americans were “ideological conservatives” but “operational liberals.” What they meant was that when asked broad questions about how government should work and what it should do, voters responded like conservatives. But when asked operational questions about which programs should be cut and which services should be eliminated, they responded like liberals. Voters like big cuts and smaller government in theory, but they don’t want to actually cut anything in practice.
The poll in question finds that people like the idea of broad spending cuts, but that Republicans were unpopular on the issue -- despite being the party that's supposedly all about cutting spending. Voters' "ideological conservative/operational liberal" stance isn't as irrational as it would seem, if you consider the mixed messages most voters get about budget matters -- and especially considering the existence of a media more concerned with finding "balance" than in finding truth. The average person doesn't have the time it takes to ferret out what's really going on in Washington and the news media and punditry can't be bothered to tell them. So you wind up having to blindly choose among the true and the untrue to arrive at your positions...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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