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  1. HOW ECONOMISTS VIEW THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION A Study Conducted for SCOTT ADAMS, INC. by The OSR Group September 2008

  2. CONTENTS • Research Objectives 4 • Study Methodology 6 • Demographics of the Respondents 10 • Political Profile of the Respondents 15 • Familiarity with the Candidates’ Economic Programs 22 • Most Important Economic Issues 28 • Which Candidate Would Do the Best with Each Issue 40 How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  3. CONTENTS(continued) • Overall Perspectives on the Candidates’ Economic Programs 60 • Advice for the Candidates 80 • Summary of Key Findings 89 • Appendix (More Details on the Methodology) 94 How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  4. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES • To understand which Presidential candidate – John McCain or Barack Obama -- is believed by U.S. economists to be best for the economy overall, over the long term. • To evaluate which issues economists believe are most important, as they relate to the U.S. economy. • To understand which candidate is expected to make the most progress dealing with the issues that economists see as most important. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  5. RESEARCH OBJECTIVES(continued) • To assess which candidate is expected to do the best job with each of 20 potentially important economic issues. • To understand what types of economic advice economists would offer to John McCain and to Barack Obama. • To evaluate these and other issues by a selection of key demographics of U.S. economists. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  6. STUDY METHODOLOGY How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  7. PROJECT OVERVIEW • A total of 523 online interviews were conducted among economists who appear on the American Economic Association’s opt-in membership list. • E-mail invitations were sent to 6,514 people on a list of AEA members who have agreed to receive surveys and other e-mails from the Association. • The invitation to participate was sent on August 7, 2008. The survey was closed to additional responses on August 11, 2008. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  8. RESPONDENT SELECTION • To qualify for the survey, potential respondents had to meet two tests: • They had to confirm that they are members of the American Economic Association. • They had to be citizens of the United States. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  9. AN IMPORTANT NOTE • The American Economic Association did not sponsor the survey, and is not responsible for the interpretation of the survey results. • Scott Adams, Inc., and The OSR Group, thank the AEA for providing their opt-in membership list to serve as the sample frame for this effort. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  10. DEMOGRAPHICS OFTHE RESPONDENTS How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  11. GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF THE ECONOMISTS Midwest (24%) -- Illinois 7% -- Michigan 4% Northeast (24%) -- New York 8% -- Pennsylvania 5% West (16%) -- California 10% South (33%) -- Virginia 7% -- Maryland 6% How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  12. WORK/PROFESSION Academia/Education 65% Consulting 9% Government 9% The financial industry 6% Other business/corporation/industry 6% Editor/Columnist 1% Think tank 1% Other 2% Retired/Not employed at present 5% How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  13. GENDER • Eighty-six percent of the economists are male; 14% are female. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  14. HOUSEHOLD INCOME • Forty-three percent of the respondents had household incomes in 2007 of • between $100,000 and $200,000. The median income was $154,700. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  15. POLITICAL PROFILE OF THE RESPONDENTS How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  16. PARTY IDENTIFICATION • Almost half (48%) of the economists say they are registered Democrats. • Only one in six (17%) are registered Republicans. Twenty-seven percent • are registered as Independents. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  17. CANDIDATE PREFERENCE • As of today, 66% of the economists say they would vote for Barack • Obama, the Democratic candidate. Twenty-eight percent would vote • for the Republican candidate, John McCain. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  18. CANDIDATE PREFERENCE: BY PARTY IDENTIFICATION • Not surprisingly, Democrats favor Obama, and Republicans favor • McCain (although 15% of the Republicans favor Obama). By 60-33%, • the Independents favor Obama. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  19. CANDIDATE PREFERENCE: BY INCOME • There are no statistically significant differences by income, although the • economists who earn less than $100,000 are slightly less likely to favor • Obama. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  20. PROVIDING ECONOMIC ADVICE • Fifteen percent of the economists say they have provided economic advice • to one or more candidates – at a national, state, or local level – during the • past year. Eighty-five percent have not done so. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  21. PROVIDING ADVICE: BY PARTY IDENTIFICATION • Republican economists are more likely to have provided advice than are • Democrats or Independents. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  22. FAMILIARITY WITH THE CANDIDATES’ ECONOMIC PROGRAMS How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  23. FAMILIARITY WITH McCAIN’S ECONOMIC PROGRAM • Twenty-seven percent of economists say they are “very familiar” with John • McCain’s economic program. In total, 90% say they are at least “somewhat • familiar” with this program. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  24. FAMILIARITY WITH McCAIN’S PROGRAM: BY CANDIDATE PREFERENCE • Those who favor McCain are more likely to be at least “somewhat familiar” • with McCain’s economic program. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  25. FAMILIARITY WITH OBAMA’S ECONOMIC PROGRAM • Three in ten economists say they are “very familiar” with Barack Obama’s • economic program. In total, 91% say they are at least “somewhat familiar” • with this program. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  26. FAMILIARITY WITH OBAMA’S PROGRAM: BY CANDIDATE PREFERENCE • Those who favor Obama are slightly more likely to be “very familiar” with his • economic program. When the “somewhat familiar“ people are included, • there is no significant difference. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  27. OVERALL FAMILIARITY WITH THE TWO PROGRAMS • Overall, the economists are about equally familiar with the two programs. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  28. MOST IMPORTANTECONOMIC ISSUES How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  29. HOW THE QUESTION WAS ASKED • The respondents were shown a list of 20 issues and asked to rate the importance of each. The question was worded as follows: • “Here are some issues that some people have said are important to the U.S. economy. Please rate your own view of the importance of each issue, as it relates to the U.S. economy. Use a scale of 1-10, where “10” means this issue is absolutely critical to the economy, and “1” means it is not important to the economy. • The order of presentation of the 20 items was randomized, to reduce bias. The items appear on the next two pages. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  30. THE 20 ISSUES • International trade policy • Encouraging technology and innovation • The mortgage and housing crisis • Providing tax relief for the middle class • Reducing the Federal budget deficit • Environmental protection, including reducing global warming • Education • Energy policy, including developing alternative sources of energy • Eliminating the estate tax • Increasing the proportion of taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  31. THE 20 ISSUES(continued) • Immigration policy • Reforming bankruptcy laws • Extending unemployment insurance • Raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation • Reducing the capital gains tax • Extending and strengthening the Unemployment Insurance system • Fixing the Social Security system • Health care policy • Reducing waste in government • Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and homeland security How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  32. THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES(based on % of 8-10 ratings) • The top four issues – education, health care, international trade, and energy • – are each rated at least “8” in importance by 60% or more. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  33. THE NEXT SET OF ISSUES(based on % of 8-10 ratings) • The next three issues are each rated at least “8” in importance by 50% or • more. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  34. THE THIRD SET OF ISSUES(based on % of 8-10 ratings) • The next set of issues are each rated at least “8” in importance by 30% or • more of the economists. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  35. THE FOURTH SET OF ISSUES(based on % of 8-10 ratings) • The next two issues are each rated at least “8” in importance by 20% or • more. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  36. THE REST OF THE LIST (based on % of 8-10 ratings) • The final seven issues are each rated at least “8” on the “1-10” importance scale by fewer than 20% of the economists: • Providing tax relief for the middle class (16%) • Reducing the capital gains tax (15%) • Extending unemployment insurance (14%) • Extending and strengthening the Unemployment Insurance system (13%) • Raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation (13%) • Reforming bankruptcy laws (11%) • Eliminating the estate tax (9%) How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  37. For those who favor McCain International trade (73%) Education (64%) Social Security (63%) Technology and innovation (58%) Iraq, Afghanistan, and homeland security (49%) Reducing waste (46%) Health care (45%) Energy (42%) Immigration (42%) For those who favor Obama Health care (77%) Education (74%) Energy (70%) Iraq, Afghanistan, homeland security (63%) Environment (61%) Mortgage and housing crisis (59%) Technology and innovation (59%) International trade (57%) MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES:BY CANDIDATE PREFERENCE How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  38. THE ISSUES WITH THE LARGEST PERCENTAGE DIFFERENCES Favor McCainFavor Obama Reducing capital gains tax 39% 4% Reducing waste 46% 18% Eliminating estate tax 23% 3% Social Security 63% 43% Environment 12% 61% Taxes paid by the wealthiest 5% 40% Health care 45% 77% Energy 42% 70% How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  39. A NOTE ABOUT SUBGROUPS • It is worth noting that those who favor Obama give higher percentage ratings [in other words, higher proportions rate the issue at least “8” in importance] for 14 of the 20 issues. • It is also worth noting that those who claim to be most familiar with the two candidates’ economic plans are most likely to choose higher percentage ratings. • Those who say they are “very familiar” with McCain’s program choose higher percentages for 14 issues than do those who are less familiar. • Those who say they are “very familiar” with Obama’s program choose higher percentages for 16 issues than do those who are less familiar. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  40. WHICH CANDIDATE WOULD DO THE BEST WITH EACH ISSUE How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  41. HOW THE QUESTION WAS ASKED • After they rated the importance of each of the 20 issues, the respondents were asked to note which candidate would do the best job with each issue. The question was worded as follows: • “Here is the list of issues once again. Now please note which of the two Presidential candidates you believe would do the best job with each of these issues. Please use the scale you see below for your ratings. • “If you wish, you may refer to the candidates’ Web pages to review their proposed policies, but you do not need to do this. The following links will get you to the economic policy pages at each candidate’s Web site: • “John McCain: http://www.johnmccain.com/Issues/jobsforamerica/ • “Barack Obama http://origin:barackobama.com/issues/economy/” How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  42. HOW THE QUESTION WAS ASKED(continued) • For this question, the economists used a 7-point scale, with McCain at 1, “no difference” at 4, and Obama at 7. Therefore, any response of 1-3 meant that McCain would do the best job with that issue, and any response of 5-7 meant Obama would do the best job with that issue. • As was true earlier, the order of presentation of the 20 items was randomized, to reduce bias. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  43. McCAIN’S STRONGEST ISSUES(% who say he would do the best job) Reducing the capital gains tax 72% Eliminating the estate tax 63% International trade policy 51% Reducing waste in government 38% Iraq, Afghanistan, and homeland security 30% Immigration policy 29% Reducing the deficit 29% How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  44. OBAMA’S STRONGEST ISSUES(% who say he would do the best job) Taxes paid by the wealthiest 79% Environmental protection 72% Raising the minimum wage 70% Extending unemployment insurance 68% Health care 65% Unemployment Insurance system 65% Energy 61% Education 59% Iraq, Afghanistan, and homeland security 58% How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  45. HOW THE CANDIDATES COMPARE ON THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES • The charts on the next seven pages compare the candidates on all 20 issues, in order of the importance of these issues. For each issue, the charts show the percentage who say McCain would be best, the percentage who say Obama would be best, and the percentage who say there would be no difference between the candidates. • In total, Obama rates higher than McCain on 16 of the 20 issues; McCain rates higher than Obama on four issues. • Among the most important issues, Obama rates higher on 11 of the top 12. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  46. COMPARISONS ON THEMOST IMPORTANT ISSUES • Obama is the overwhelming choice for the two most important issues – • education and health care. McCain is the clear choice for the third issue – • international trade. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  47. COMPARISONS ON THENEXT MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES • Obama is strongly preferred on each of the next three issues. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  48. COMPARISONS ON THETHIRD SET OF ISSUES • Obama is also the clear choice for the next three issues. The difference is • particularly striking for environmental protection. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  49. COMPARISONS ON THEFOURTH SET OF ISSUES • Obama is also preferred for these next three issues, and especially for • increasing the proportion of taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans. Note • that Obama is seen as the best choice (by 37-29%) for reducing the • Federal budget deficit. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008

  50. COMPARISONS ON THEFIFTH SET OF ISSUES • On two of these three issues – the 13th and 15th most important – McCain • is seen as the better choice. Obama is best for providing tax relief to the • middle class. How Economists View the Presidential Election -- September 2008