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Econo-centric fears are gripping the very guts of the nation. More than 70 percent of 1,200 midterm voters polled in a post-election survey said it is “very important” that Congress reduce the national debt. An additional 24 percent said it is “somewhat important,” according to new data released by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The sentiments apply across large majorities of men and women, across all political affiliations, all races, all regions of the country and all income levels.

“It is rare to see such broad agreement among the American people for legislative action that’s bound to gore many an ox,” says John Palmer, a Syracuse University public affairs professor who led the nonpartisan research on behalf of the National Research Council and National Academy of Public Administration.


- 70 percent of the general U.S. population and 67 percent of “Washington, D.C., elites” say the political system in Washington is “broken.”

- 49 percent of the population and 63 percent of the elites say the media are “largely to blame” for incivility in politics.

- 40 percent of the population would vote for “the Republican candidate” and 37 percent for President Obama in the 2012 presidential election.

- 29 percent of the elites would vote for the Republican, 58 percent for Mr. Obama.

- 40 percent of the population and 49 percent of the elites say Mr. Obama “understands the message that was sent Nov. 2.”

- 26 percent of the population and 49 percent of the elites expect him to be re-elected in 2012.

Source: A Politico survey of 1,000 adults - including 225 “Washington, D.C. elites” - conducted Nov. 8-11. “Elites” are defined as those who live within the D.C. metro area, earn more than $75,000 per year, have at least a college degree and are involved in the political process or work on key political issues or policy decisions.

c Treaties, wedding news to jharper@washington