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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

1994, 2010, and the Deficit

At National Review Online, I outlined some of the similarities and differences between the 1994 and 2010 elections. The Pew Research Center offers further comparisons:

Opinions about which party can better handle the deficit have shifted since the previous midterm campaign in 2006. Currently, 42% say the Republican Party can do a better job of reducing the deficit, while 36% say the Democratic Party can do better ...

There are some similarities in current public views about the deficit today with opinions in July 1994, a few months before Republicans won control of both houses of Congress for the first time in four decades. In fact, the Republican Party then held a lead on handling the deficit identical to the lead it now holds (42% to 36%).

Yet the hierarchy of leading national issues is very different today than it was in 1994. Currently, the deficit is mentioned more frequently as a top problem (11% today vs. 5% then). But jobs and the economy are far more dominant issues now than they were 16 years ago. In July 1994, just 12% volunteered unemployment or jobs as the most important problem, placing them well behind crime (26%), which was the top issue. Today, 31% volunteer unemployment or jobs as the most important problem facing the nation, while another 24% mention the economy.