About the Economic Knowledge of the Public…
Michael Barone writes, “Many of the sneering comments about the participants in last week’s hundreds of tea parties across the nation were premised on the idea that these people didn’t know much about public policy.” (Sounds familiar). However, as Barone mentions, a Pew Research poll conducted at the end of March (you can take the related quiz here) “finds the American public reasonably well-informed about a number of basic facts pertaining to the current economic situation.” Further, a new Rasmussen poll shows that 52% of Americans are worried that the government is getting too involved in the economy. This tracks closely with the results of another Rasmussen poll showing that 51% of Americans viewed the Tea Party protests favorably. That puts this slight majority at odds with the “Political Class” polled by Rasmussen:
[J]ust 13% of the political elite offered even a somewhat favorable assessment while 81% said the opposite. Among the Political Class, not a single survey respondent said they had a Very Favorable opinion of the events while 60% shared a Very Unfavorable assessment.
Then there’s this:
Most Americans trust the judgment of the public more than political leaders, view the federal government as a special interest group and believe that big business and big government work together against the interests of investors and consumers. Only seven percent (7%) share the opposite view and can be considered part of the Political Class.
On many issues, there is a bigger gap between the Political Class and Mainstream Americans than between Mainstream Republicans and Mainstream Democrats. That was true on the tea parties, but Mainstream Republicans do express a more positive view of the protests than Mainstream Democrats. Still, a majority (54%) of Mainstream Democrats had a favorable opinion of the tea parties.
So, according to these polls, the tea parties were supported and attended by a basically bi-partisan, well-informed and populist crowd. Yikes!