The Pew Research Center just put out an interesting survey on the economic attitudes of America's middle class. I am still digesting it, but here is what really popped out at me:
When asked whether maintaining a middle class standard of living is more or less difficult today compared with five years ago, nearly eight-in-ten (78%) middle class respondents say it is more difficult. There are some partisan differences: Democrats (85%) are more inclined than Republicans (73%) or independents (67%) to deliver this negative assessment.
OK, that's not so surprising given the current state of the economy. But what you might find surprising is who gets the most blame: government. Of all respondents, 26 percent blamed "government," 15 percent the "price of oil," 11 percent "people themselves," 8 percent "foreign competition," 5 percent "private corporations," and just 1 percent "President Bush."
GOP-ers should be heartened b y these numbers since they seem to indicate that the voters understand that the current state of the economy is the result of a number of complex forces beyond the control of the president. I think this also makes it less likely that voters will somehow hold John McCain responsible for the weak economy, and it shows how desperate people are for an upbeat message. And consider this: Although this is counterintuitive, bad economic times tend to make people more hostile to government, a factoid this poll supports.