Poll: President Obama's Vision Trumps Mitt Romney's. So Why Are They Running Even?
New York Times/CBS (PDF). Registered voters. April 13-17. ±3%.
Which do you think is the best way to promote economic growth in the U.S.? 1. Lower taxes on individuals and businesses, and pay for those tax cuts by spending on some government services and programs, or 2. Spend more on education and the nation’s infrastructure, and raise taxes on wealthy individuals and businesses to pay for that spending.
Lower taxes, cut spending: 37
Spend more, raise taxes: 56
I know the top line horserace numbers in this poll were tied—46 apiece—but as Greg Sargent argues, these numbers are more important because they show that President Obama's progressive vision of government trumps Mitt Romney's trickle-down philosophy. And they aren't a fluke, either. According to the poll, voters clearly believe government should be doing more, not less, to strengthen the economy and the middle-class:
Do you think the government should be doing more to help improve the financial situation of middle class Americans, should it be doing less, or do you think the government is doing the right amount to help improve the financial situation of middle class Americans?
Do more: 67
Do less: 15
Doing right amount: 14
In general, do you think the government should be doing more to help the housing market improve, should it be doing less, or is the government doing the right amount?
Compare that last question to Mitt Romney's "let it hit bottom" foreclosure plan and you can see how out of touch he is. Of course, there's always the possibility that voters could be saying they want more government, but when it comes time to actually paying for it, they flip-flop. But even on that front, President Obama is on stronger ground than Mitt Romney:
Do you feel you pay more than your fair share in federal income taxes, less than your fair share, or is the amount you pay about right?
More than fair: 36
Less than fair: 2
About right: 58
What about upper-income Americans? Do you feel upper-income people pay more than their fair share in federal income taxes, less than their fair share, or is the amount they pay about right?
More than fair: 11
Less than fair: 57
About right: 24
Those numbers suggest a plan that raised taxes on everybody would find resistance, but that's not what President Obama has pushed for. And there's broad support for raising taxes on top earners, which is what Obama has been advocating.
So if this poll shows Obama is on the right side of the issues on a substantive basis, why is he then tied with Mitt Romney in the same poll? Perhaps the answer is that contrary to conventional wisdom, President Obama is the one would benefit from this campaign being about economic ideas, while Mitt Romney is the one who benefits from trivia and distraction.