Economic Program | Memo

Third Way/Benenson Strategy Group Poll on the Economy

by Jim Kessler, Ryan McConaghy and Anne Kim

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With the nation positioned between recession and recovery, the debate over the ideas that will shape the economic future is in full swing. A new poll by Third Way and the Benenson Strategy Group provides some key insights on the views of the middle-class Americans who will ultimately decide which ideas carry the day. Among the poll’s findings:

  • Just 18 months after President Bush left office, two-thirds of Americans now believe that if Republicans retake Congress they will pursue economic ideas that are new and different from the former president’s. However, public views of economic policies are significantly affected by whether or not they are associated with the Bush legacy.
  • By healthy margins, Americans feel that businesses are the backbone of the economy and will lead the recovery. They are more skeptical of government action, signaling that overplayed populism is not without peril.
  • Americans have become hypersensitive to deficit spending, and concern over the budget trumps a variety of other concerns.
  • Although they know times are tough, by and large the middle class continues to believe that America’s future will be bright and their own fortunes will improve. Middle-class Americans are more concerned about realizing their aspirations than avoiding their anxieties.

To see the full results of the survey, please CLICK HERE.

For more information on Benenson Strategy Group, please see their website at

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