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."