Taxes versus investment, polls versus manipulation

Pollster Frank Graves has an item on about the recent spate of polling that media outlets have reported as indicating solid and enthusiastic public support for all manner of spending cuts.

The interesting bit to me comes a bit further down in the item wherein Graves talks about two approaches pollsters take to coming up with opinion numbers about budget priorities. If the question is about the deficit and whether they should raise taxes or cut spending, most choose ‘cut spending’. And so the media can report that “Canadians seem to be in a bloodthirsty mood”.

Except that another question, in the same poll even, paints a very different picture. Asked where the government should place its priorities in light of its serious financial problems, most respondents choose “investing in social areas such as health education and jobs” over keeping taxes low or keeping the deficit low.

Says Graves, “We would remind those who believe it is all about austerity that the highest scores we received were for social investment — not spending cuts.”