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As promised, here are the results of my survey of economists. You can see three views into the results today, and I plan to blog more about it this week. 

(Format problems are because my blogging software is finnicky.)

 

1. My opinion on the results, on CNN.com http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/16/dilbert.economy/index.html
 

2. Detailed survey data: http://dilbert.com/dyn/ppt/Draft-report--9-3-08.ppt

 

3. Press release (below)

  

[Some contact information removed here]

 Dilbert Survey of Economists Democratic Economists Favor Obama. Republican Economists Favor McCain. Independents Lean Toward Obama. 


Dublin, CA (September 10, 2008) – 
Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip, commissioned a survey of over 500 economists to find out which candidate for President of the United States would be best for the economy long term.

Says Adams, “I found myself wishing someone would give voters useful and unbiased information about which candidate has the best plans for the economy. Then I realized that I am someone, which is both inconvenient and expensive.”

At considerable personal expense, Adams commissioned a survey of over 500 economists, drawn from a subset of the members of the American Economic Association, a non-political group, some of whose members had agreed in advance to be surveyed on economic questions. The results do not represent the AEA’s position. The survey was managed by The OSR Group, a respected national public opinion and marketing research company.

Nationally, most economists are male and registered as either Democrats or Independents. The survey sample reflects that imbalance.

 

48%     Democrats

17%     Republicans

27%     Independents

3%       Libertarian

5%       Other or not registered

86% of the economists surveyed are male, and 65% work in the field of academia or education. The rest are spread across various industries or not working.

When asked which candidate for President would be best for the economy in the long run, not surprisingly, 88% of Democratic economists think Obama would be best, while 80% of Republican economists pick McCain. Independent economists, who in this sample are largely from the academic world, lean toward Obama by 46% compared to 39% for McCain. Overall, 59% of the economists say Obama would be best for the economy long term, with 31% picking McCain, and 8% saying there would be no difference.

The economists were asked to rank the most important economic issues and pick which candidate they thought would do the best job on those issues. 
 Rank   Issues                            Obama      McCain     No Diff.

1          Education                          59%           14%           27%

 

2          Health care                        65%           20%           15%

 

3          International trade              26%           51%           23%

 

4          Energy                              61%           22%           17%

 

5          Encouraging
           
Technology/innovation       43%           23%           34%

 

6          Wars and 
            
homeland security              58%           30%           11%

 

7          Mortgage/housing crisis     41%           18%           41%

 

8          Social Security                  40%           24%           35%

 

9          Environmental policy          72%             9%           19%

 

10        Reducing the deficit           37%           29%           33%

 

11        Immigration                       33%           29%           38%

 

12        Increasing taxes                 79%           14%             7%

            on wealthy

 

13        Reducing waste                 16%           38%           46%

            in government

 

The economists in the survey favor Obama on 11 of the top 13 issues. But keep in mind that 48% are Democrats and only 17% are Republicans. Among Independents, things are less clear, with 54% thinking that in the long run there would either be no difference between the candidates or McCain would do better.

Adams puts the survey results in perspective: “If an economist uses a complicated model to predict just about anything, you can ignore it. By analogy, a doctor can’t tell you the exact date of your death in 50 years. But if a doctor tells you to eat less and exercise more, that’s good advice even if you later get hit by a bus. Along those same lines, economists can give useful general advice on the economy, even if you know there will be surprises. Still, be skeptical.”

[Some contact information removed]

Interview requests for Scott Adams can be directed to
scottadams@aol.com. Adams will only be responding by e-mail for the next few months due to some minor surgery to fix a voice issue.


Update:
Some of you will wonder how reliable a bunch of academics are when it comes to answering real life questions about the economy. You might prefer to know what CEOs think. But remember that CEOs are paid to be advocates for their stockholders, not advocates for voters. Asking CEOs what should be done about the economy is like asking criminals for legal advice. More on that this week.

 

And for my view on the value economists: http://dilbert.com/blog/?Date=2008-08-22

 
Any help in distributing this information across the Internet would be appreciated.
 
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Mar 3, 2009
Well,the survey is quite interesting and informative.Obama leads the result except in Immigration and Reducing waste in government,may i know the reasons for that? Thank's.



----------------------------------------

bruce

[url="http://www.cashsurveys.net"]Surveys[/url]
 
 
Mar 3, 2009
Well,the survey is quite interesting and informative.Obama leads the result except in Immigration and Reducing waste in government,may i know the reasons for that? Thank's.



----------------------------------------

bruce

<a href="http://www.cashsurveys.net">Surveys</a>
 
 
Sep 27, 2008
creator of the Dilbert comic strip, commissioned a survey of over 500 economists to find out which candidate for President of the United States would be best for the economy long term. Says Adams, "I found myself wishing someone would give voters useful and unbiased information about which candidate has the best plans for the economy. Then I realized that I am someone, which is both inconvenient and expensive."
=========================
Bobwilliams
<a href="http://www.drivenwide.com">Viral marketing</a>
 
 
Sep 22, 2008
I'm sure that you have seen this, but I found this article today:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aSKSoiNbnQY0
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 19, 2008
I found the survey and the following discussion really interesting (especially because I am an economist).

In particular, the conclusion by Dilbert that:

''[…] you should expect [economists] to cross party lines when the data is clear and understood, and to lean toward party loyalties when things get fuzzy. That's how humans are wired. We like our team.''

is really a good news to me…

Actually these Dilbert's survey result is really similar to the one I and a co-author got conducting a survey on Italian economists' opinions. Interesting, isn't it?


If you are interested in our survey's results have a look at

http://micdimaio.googlepages.com/surveyofitalianeconomists

Ciao,
michele
 
 
Sep 17, 2008
> Nice job with the straw men, but you didn't actually refute my arguments

Au contraire. In my post, I argued that between unaccountable social activists posing as academics vs. drivers of the economy who are responsible for creating wealth (or directing its creation, if that makes you happy), that CEOs are infinitely more qualified to judge the economic policies of presidential candidates.

And then you agreed with me.

You agreed that CEOs "organize...capital that is necessary for the workers to continue to create wealth." Put another way, it is business people who are knowledgeable of economics and how governmental economic policy will affect their business, their industry, and business in general in the national economy.

It was my argument to lose, and despite your hot air, Equality 7-2521, my argument is unchallenged.
 
 
Sep 17, 2008
jackjumper:

> One small correction. Businesses don't create wealth. Workers create wealth.
> Businesses are a means to organize workers so that they can work together
> to create wealth more efficiently.

Amusing, but that's not the way it works. Business people have a different attitude and drive than most other people. If a business person can't get help, he does it himself. On the other hand, if a more typical person can't get a job, he simply doesn't work. The thought of creating wealth outside the role of an employee is a foreign thought.

> CEOs then take a cut of the wealth for providing a place to work. They also
> organize (but don't usually directly supply - that's the banks job) capital that
> is necessary for the workers to continue to create wealth (i.e. raw materials).

That's what it looks like from a Marxist view, yes. But it's not reality.

> Think of it this way: Can a business with zero workers create wealth?

Businesses are people, not pieces of paper, so if the question is can a business _person_ with zero employees create wealth, then again, the answer is yes. A business _person_ will create wealth with or without the help of others. Hundreds of thousands do it every single day. But there are millions that don't--and won't.
 
 
Sep 17, 2008
> for voters. Asking CEOs what should be done about the economy is like asking criminals
> for legal advice.

Actually, you'd be surprised. Some criminals give awesome legal advice. It's crucial for them to know every little hole in the law.

Another two things I noticed in these comments:
1. nobody reads others' comments
2. no one here seems to think that religious motivation and war could be relevant to economy
 
 
Sep 17, 2008
> But remember that CEOs are paid to be advocates for their stockholders, not advocates
> for voters. Asking CEOs what should be done about the economy is like asking criminals
> for legal advice.

That's RIDICULOUS! What do you think makes a strong economy? Government? Government produces nothing--it only consumes. Academics? Please. Academics are little more than political activists on the government dole.

Look, the country is just like person. if you want more wealth, you work more and produce more. And who is that produces wealth in a national economy? BUSINESSES of all sizes. Businesses create wealth and jobs, and that contributes to a strong national economy (not to mention that their products and services benefit their customers).

So why not ask CEOs? They don't just participate in the economy, they drive it. Unlike academic pinheads, CEOs are accountable to others for producing, creating, and building wealth. And although you imply that shareholders of any given company are somehow separate from the economy, they are, in fact, a part of it.

The ultimate question regarding economics is, how do you make it easier for producers to produce, and nobody knows better than the producers themselves: business people.

P.S. I'm continually troubled by the portrayal of the "profit motive" as some sort of sin or vice. It is no vice, and there is nothing sinful about working hard to create a better life for one's self, one's family, and the benefactors of one's voluntary charity.
 
 
Sep 17, 2008
I , for one, am incredibly shocked Democratic voted democratic republicans voted republican independants were split Did the fact that they were economists make any difference ? what about asking the same question of dog walkers , garbage men, and carpenters? I bet youll get nearly the same result -and save a buck , scott!
There is no one in this country who can make a non partisan decision - when watching any talking head , as soon as you find out what party affiliation someone is , you know exactly what they will say
nothing to see here ....
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 17, 2008
I thought it was interesting that on over half of the issues Obama
gets a lower percent of supporters than the percent of registered
Democrats in the sample. Can you imagine a registered Democrat saying
that McCain is better at encouraging technology innovation than Obama?
Or preserving social security? Or reducing the defecit? That has
happened. I would have thought that given the sample they would have
been more partisan. Look at International Trade, Mortgage/Housing
Crisis, Immigration, and Reducing Waste in Government. Not good for
Obama. I can picture the outcome of the same survey in a sample that
was 3 to 1 registered Republican.

My interpretation: registered Democrats will support McCain on many
key economic issues, or at least agree that there is no difference
between the candidates. The exceptions are Education, where he gives
up a lot of ground to Obama, and "Increasing Taxes on the Wealthy".
It is hard to say whether the latter really fits anyway - it is the
only question that substitutes a partisan policy for a broad topic.
It would have been better worded as general Tax Policy.
 
 
Sep 17, 2008
This would have been much more useful if you also asked for a rating of the importance of each of these issues to the economy. This would allow for weighting. The environment and international traded were both very skewed (in different directions), but which one is more important to our economy as a whole?
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 17, 2008
"...Just because McCain has engaged in bi-partisan efforts and doesn't throw flames around when he speaks doesn't mean he is "lukewarm"... "

I'm guessing that when Scott suggests McCain is "lukewarm", he's not referring so much to his political bi-partisanship, than the fact that he is only just about alive...
 
 
Sep 17, 2008
What I would like to know is will you consider yourself qualified to vote as a result of this survey Scott? And will it be for Obama - if you care to share.

cheers,
Iain
 
 
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 17, 2008
Well done, I will suggest your name to the Sweden Academy
 
 
Sep 17, 2008
In my previous post, I hope I didn't give the impression that I agreed with Scott Adams' analysis of a "lukewarm cadaver", which I could only assume was the candidate who isn't going to tax Scott Adams, Sen John McCain.
Just because McCain has engaged in bi-partisan efforts and doesn't throw flames around when he speaks doesn't mean he is "lukewarm". He is loyal and even feisty where it counts.
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 17, 2008
"The economists in the survey favor Obama on 11 of the top 13 issues. But keep in mind that 48% are Democrats and only 17% are Republicans."

Well, you make it sound strange but it seems very reasonable to me:

most economists think Obama will do a better job => most economists are democrats
 
 
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 17, 2008
At first glance, it looks like the views of Democrats and Republicans were biased toward their own candidates...but could it be that their preference for the candidates is because they think that the particular candidate has a better economic policy (I don't have a very good idea of how the "registration" for economists works partially because I'm not from the US. If they were "registered" before the presidential campaign even began, then my argument holds no water)
 
 
Sep 17, 2008
Did you keep the receipt?
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 17, 2008
Scott, I am wondering why you trust so much the economists. I guess that Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, and AIG were all packed with economists, yet they did not helped much to prevent the sub-prime crisis, although it was obvious it going to pop up sometimes. On the other hand, the economists are good in giving you theoretical advices that somebody should consider when taking a decision, but I do not expect economists to know which the best approach is. All they should do is IMO to make a list of scenarios and options to choose from.
 
 
 
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