BARACK OBAMA and Mitt Romney have spent many months and hundreds of millions of dollars trying to convince the public that electing the other man would lead to economic catastrophe. They have fought to a draw: voters today are almost evenly split over which man would do a better job on the economy.
But whom would the experts pick? To find out, The Economist polled hundreds of professional academic and business economists. Our main finding should hearten Mr Obama. By a large margin they rate his overall economic plan more highly than Mr Romney’s, credit him with a better grasp of economics, and think him more likely to appoint a good economic team (see chart). They do not hold the perpetually disappointing recovery against him; half of respondents graded his record as good or very good, compared with just 5% who said that about George Bush in our poll four years ago. “It all depends on the counterfactual,” said Justin Wolfers, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, referring to how bad things might have been without the president’s emergency measures.
But Mr Romney can take heart from a deeper dive into the numbers. The Economistpolled two groups: research associates of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the country’s leading organisation of academic economists; and the outlook panel of the National Association for Business Economics. The academics gave Mr Obama much higher marks than Mr Romney, which may in part reflect partisan preference: fully 45% of them identified themselves as Democrats, and just 7% as Republicans.
By contrast, the forecasters, a much less partisan crowd, consistently assigned Mr Romney higher scores. Democrats and Republicans were equally represented in this group, at 22% each. Roughly half of both groups were either independent or declined to state an affiliation. Among these independents, and these are probably the most compelling numbers, Mr Obama’s platform still got a higher grade than Mr Romney’s, but by a much smaller margin than in the group as a whole. The independents, by a slim margin, thought Mr Obama would name a better economic team, but also believed that Mr Romney has the better grasp of economics.
- Economic planning
- Candidate preference
- Rating Obama
- Economic recovery
While we cannot claim that this is a scientific sampling of economists’ opinions, our sample is reasonably large: 312 of the 902 NBER research associates responded, as did 51, around half, of the NABE forecast panel’s members. Leer más “Asking the experts | economist.com”