Free Markets, Free People

Documenting the elite/fly-over country disconnect

I don’t think it would surprise anyone to find that the "Washington elite" are completely disconnected with the rabble found in fly-over country.

Politico has some examples based on a poll they just completed (Power and the People series). For instance:

Only 27 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction, compared with 61 percent who think the nation is on the wrong track. Likewise, when asked whether the national economy is heading down the right or wrong track, just 24 percent chose the right track, compared with 65 percent for the wrong track.

Yet among the 227 Washington elites polled, more think the country is on the right track, 49 percent, than the wrong track, 45 percent. On the economy, 44 percent of elites think the country is on the right track, compared with 46 percent who believe it is not.

Imagine, if you will, standing the ruins of the economy, looking around and deciding, “yeah, you know, I think we’re on the right track!”

You’re right, it’s unimaginable.  Yet there are the numbers of us v. the elite. 

If you’re wondering what constitutes a "Washington elite", here’s how Politico defined them:

To qualify as a Washington elite for the poll, respondents must live within the D.C. metro area, earn more than $75,000 per year, have at least a college degree and be involved in the political process or work on key political issues or policy decisions.

If that doesn’t quite make the point, how about taxes?

Taxes are another issue where Washington does not appear to have its finger on the pulse of the country. Fifty-three percent of the general public ranked taxes as a “very important” issue, while 37 percent of elites said the same.

Because, you know, taxes are the life-blood of government, and these are the people who run government.  So what do you suppose they think is more important – your tax burden or the availability of the funds they need to do what they think government should be doing?

This, however, should come as no surprise:

Among the elites, Obama has a 66 percent favorability rating, while 34 percent view him unfavorably. Outside of Washington, only 48 percent of respondents view the president favorably, compared with 47 percent who view him unfavorably.

In prospective 2012 matchups, Obama never falls below 60 percent support among the D.C. elites. Yet among the general population, the president doesn’t win more than 48 percent support in any of the pairings.

On the question of the 2012 presidential election, the general public gave a generic Republican candidate a 5-percentage-point edge over Obama, 42 percent to 37 percent, while among Washington elites, the president would cruise to reelection by a 2-to-1 ratio — 56 percent to 28 percent.

Washington is Obama’s town right now, the “elites” mostly work for him and they also know which side of bread is buttered for them.  So naturally they believe they’ve done good work, are underfunded and have a real dynamite dude in the driver’s seat.

Or at least that’s what they say in answer to a poll.  But in reality, I’d have to guess there’s some real “willing suspension of disbelief” going on in DC.

~McQ

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16 Responses to Documenting the elite/fly-over country disconnect

  • Because, you know, taxes are the life-blood of government, and these are the people who run government.  So what do you suppose they think is more important – your tax burden or the availability of the funds they need to do what they think government should be doing?

     
    That is why the democrats and democrat politicians think tax cuts have to be paid for.   I have a friend who happens to be a democrat staffer in D.C., who can’t comprehend that tax cuts are not something that has to be paid for and that out of control spending is the problem.

  • This is why the Republican Party seems to have abandoned the principles of Ronald Reagan.
    It all comes down to the fact the Democrats and these elites are truly symbionic, but for most Republicans outside of DC, there is an unseamly symbiosis of the DC crowd in ways that make Republicans and Democrats look the same.

  • Washington is Obama’s town right now, the “elites” mostly work for him and they also know which side of bread is buttered for them.

     
    Yeah, I saw this poll this morning and thought what a ridiculous premise this poll is based on.
    So, politico thought, let’s ask those in power whether or not things are good for them right now.  What answer would one expect?
    This poll is meaningless.  It doesn’t matter which party would be in power right now for the poll to hold similar numbers.  These are the people involved in the power structure.  Their bread is buttered no matter who has the knife.
     
    Dog bites man.
     
    Cheers.

    • Gotta agree. I like to think that a similar poll taken during a GOP administration would show at least some awareness……but nah.

      It’s the ruling class is what it is. GOP, DEM whatever.  They’re all the same right now

      • And Trent Lott helpfully supplies an example (regarding Tea Party candidates)

        Former Senate majority leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), now a D.C. lobbyist, warned that a robust bloc of rabble-rousers spells further Senate dysfunction. “We don’t need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples,” Lott said in an interview. “As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.”

    • This shows me that we need more (or perhaps some) spending cuts.  When it doesn’t hurt those in power at least as much as the taxpayers, then we need “pain redistribution.”

    • Their bread is buttered no matter who has the knife.

      Nicely put.  I don’t think it makes the poll “meaningless”, however.

  • Amazing that some here look at this poll as having no meaning.  The poll highlights the disconnect between the political class and the people.  That is NOT meaningless.  Anything BUT.

  • I think that more people are starting to realize that we have succeeded in (more or less) unintentionally creating a nobility in our country.  Yeah, there have always been “the blue bloods”, but I’m referring to a nobility not based so much on wealth as on mutual agreement.  In such a system, one gets ahead not by merit (money has historically been the measure of “merit”) but simply by agreeing to fit in.  Look at The Dear Golfer and other prominent elites such as Kagan, Sotomayor, most members of Congress and MiniTru, well-known academics, etc.: their resumes are actually pretty thin by objective standards, but because they played the game, they moved up.  In “flyover country”, Paul Krugman would be a crank panhandling on the street corner; nobody in his right mind would trust him to manage the night shift at Taco Bell.  Helen Thomas would be merely the nasty old women at the end of the block who tells you – whether you want to know or not – what the Goldsteins did THIS time.  The Dear Golfer would be relegated to hanging around drunk tanks and hospital waiting rooms, hoping that somebody will pay him to sue somebody else.*  The only reason that these people are taken seriously and have the power and prestige that they have is because they agree amongst each other that they are all really great, smart, savvy, wise, and bright.  It’s the same as the feudal system: Count Olaf and Baron Brisemont were drunken, violent, ignorant fools who might hate each other, but they would defend to the death each other’s status against the villains and common rabble.

    Well, not so much any more.  We’re getting a good look at the best and the brightest as they lead us off the cliff, and its getting harder and harder to listen to them any more.

    —–

    (*) I realize that the same comments can be made with equal accuracy about prominent Republicans.  I’ve always thought, for example, that Trent Lott was a live-action Foghorn Leghorn.  How such a fool got to be Senate Majority Leader is like some sort of cosmic bad joke.

    • That is true in more fields than politics. Corporate executive suites are also filled with those who know the right people instead of those who make the right decisions.

  • “The only reason that these people are taken seriously and have the power and prestige that they have is because they agree amongst each other that they are all really great, smart, savvy, wise, and bright.”

    There has also been a tendency in the US to allow for a certain amount of trust for those leaders we have chosen through the system to represent us.  That trust was based upon the belief that, regardless of party affiliation, the people’s representatives were looking out for them.  There is now a high level of cynicism among the proles that those representing them have arbitrarily elevated themselves above their constituents.  To even refer to them as elites highlights the disconnect.  And with that disconnect there is a growing understanding that these “elites” are now looking out for themselves first and foremost and their constituents should just sit back ’cause they will be taken care of – “‘we know what we are doing and we know what you need better then you do.”

    If nothing else this poll highlights the dissolution of that former level of trust and the growing disconnect which results.