Tuesday, June 8, 2010


A new survey has come out today and boy, is it interesting.   The Wall Street Journal is running a story by Daniel Klein about a Zogby International survey on economics and politics.  For all those people who say liberal/progressives are clueless about the economy, guess what?

You're absolutely right.

Mr. Klein describes the survey:

Zogby researcher Zeljka Buturovic and I considered the 4,835 respondents' (all American adults) answers to eight survey questions about basic economics. We also asked the respondents about their political leanings: progressive/very liberal; liberal; moderate; conservative; very conservative; and libertarian.

Rather than focusing on whether respondents answered a question correctly, we instead looked at whether they answered incorrectly. A response was counted as incorrect only if it was flatly unenlightened.
By flatly unenlightened, he means a definitive wrong answer.  If the respondent answered 'not sure', it was not considered a wrong answer.  The five answer choices are:  Strongly Agree, Somewhat Agree, Somewhat Disagree, Strongly Disagree, and Not Sure.

The respondents were asked 8 questions:

"Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable." People were asked if they: 1) strongly agree; 2) somewhat agree; 3) somewhat disagree; 4) strongly disagree; 5) are not sure.

The other questions were: 1) Mandatory licensing of professional services increases the prices of those services (unenlightened answer: disagree). 2) Overall, the standard of living is higher today than it was 30 years ago (unenlightened answer: disagree). 3) Rent control leads to housing shortages (unenlightened answer: disagree). 4) A company with the largest market share is a monopoly (unenlightened answer: agree). 5) Third World workers working for American companies overseas are being exploited (unenlightened answer: agree). 6) Free trade leads to unemployment (unenlightened answer: agree). 7) Minimum wage laws raise unemployment (unenlightened answer: disagree).
The political/ideological breakdown was as follows: Very Conservative, Conservative, Moderate, Liberal, Liberal/Progressive, and Libertarian. 
Eight questions, five possible answers for each.  The results are compelling (emphasis mine):
How did the six ideological groups do overall? Here they are, best to worst, with an average number of incorrect responses from 0 to 8: Very conservative, 1.30; Libertarian, 1.38; Conservative, 1.67; Moderate, 3.67; Liberal, 4.69; Progressive/very liberal, 5.26.
Of eight questions, progressives got, on average, five and a half wrong.  The big question is, on the remaining two and a half possibly right answers, how many of them were counted as correct but were actually answered "Not Sure"?   Mr. Klein does not say, but considering how poorly the liberal/progressives are doing steering our economy right now, it's tempting to think the other two and a half answers were not so much answered correctly as answered "Not Sure".
Kinda puts our current economic crisis and the failure of our liberal/progressive government's attempts to fix it into perspective, doesn't it? 

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