Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Economists surveyed on election

Survey of Economists Democratic Economists Favor Obama. Republican Economists Favor McCain. Independents Lean Toward Obama.


Dublin, CA (September 10, 2008) – A wealthy independent voter commissioned a survey of over 500 economists to find out which candidate for President of the United States would be best for the economy long term.

The voter said, “I found myself wishing someone would give voters useful and unbiased information about which candidate has the best plans for the economy. Then I realized that I am someone, which is both inconvenient and expensive.”

At considerable personal expense, Adams commissioned a survey of over 500 economists, drawn from a subset of the members of the American Economic Association, a non-political group, some of whose members had agreed in advance to be surveyed on economic questions. The results do not represent the AEA’s position. The survey was managed by The OSR Group, a respected national public opinion and marketing research company.

Nationally, most economists are male and registered as either Democrats or Independents. The survey sample reflects that imbalance.


48% Democrats

17% Republicans

27% Independents

3% Libertarian
5% Other or not registered

86% of the economists surveyed are male, and 65% work in the field of academia or education. The rest are spread across various industries or not working.

When asked which candidate for President would be best for the economy in the long run, not surprisingly, 88% of Democratic economists think Obama would be best, while 80% of Republican economists pick McCain. Independent economists, who in this sample are largely from the academic world, lean toward Obama by 46% compared to 39% for McCain. Overall, 59% of the economists say Obama would be best for the economy long term, with 31% picking McCain, and 8% saying there would be no difference.

The economists were asked to rank the most important economic issues and pick which candidate they thought would do the best job on those issues.
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 on wealthy 79% 14% 7%


13 Reducing waste in government 16% 38% 46%


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.

Voter puts the survey results in perspective: “If an economist uses a complicated model to predict just about anything, you can ignore it. By analogy, a doctor can’t tell you the exact date of your death in 50 years. But if a doctor tells you to eat less and exercise more, that’s good advice even if you later get hit by a bus. Along those same lines, economists can give useful general advice on the economy, even if you know there will be surprises. Still, be skeptical.”


Update: Some of you will wonder how reliable a bunch of academics are when it comes to answering real life questions about the economy. You might prefer to know what CEOs think. But remember that CEOs are paid to be advocates for their stockholders, not advocates for voters. Asking CEOs what should be done about the economy is like asking criminals for legal advice.

2 comments:

ToddCommish said...

The reason most economists (an academic occupation) are Democrat is that, almost by definition, they operate in the theoretical world, not the real world.

I suspect if you talk to Finance Managers, who are essentially economists in the real world, you'd find the opposite party ratios.

DuggleBogey said...

Yes of course. Everyone that disagrees with you is stupid, no matter how educated and accomplished they are.

Got it.

Lets move on.

P.S. "Finance Managers" are just scumbag salesmen, and EVERYONE knows that.