Free Markets, Free People

Washington elite

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.



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