I was surprised at how little attention my Dilbert Survey of Economists got from the media. It did well on the Internet, finding a prominent place on CNN.com, then getting picked up by Reuters, BusinessWire, MarketWatch.com, Yahoo, Dilbert.com obviously, and tons of blogs. But it didn't get any play with television, radio, or newspapers. Why not?

Several people with knowledge of the media told me the survey "wasn't biased enough." Democrats and Republicans in the survey mostly stuck to the party line. Obama had the most support from economists, by far, but there are more Democratic economists in the country, and in the survey, also by far. To my knowledge, no one has ever studied why that is.

Today the headlines tell us that Obama is pulling ahead in the polls because likely voters have more confidence that he can handle the economic crisis compared to McCain.


In other words, public opinion is starting to line up with the opinion of economists. Did the Dilbert Survey of Economists have any impact on that move?

The biggest reason for the move in the polls probably has to do with McCain's support of Republican policies that are widely seen as the source of the problem.

Second, the financial problem is complicated. The only thing we ignorant voters know for sure is that we want someone with a high IQ to sort out this mess on our behalf. No matter how much you love McCain's philosophy, track record, moral compass, common sense, or anything else about him, he doesn't come close to Obama in pure brain power. For most issues, that probably doesn't make much difference. For an issue of this complexity, it might.

Third, I think the Dilbert Survey of Economists probably had some impact, at least with the free thinkers of the Internet. A lot of people, including me, assumed before the survey that most professional economists would lean Republican. The fact that so many economists are Democrats, and support Obama, is both a surprise and hard to ignore.

I wouldn't have funded the survey if I didn't have this blog. And I wouldn't have this blog if people didn't leave comments. So if the Dilbert Survey of Economists ends up changing the world, and you have ever left a comment here, you were part of something important.

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Oct 8, 2008
I enjoyed your survey. We are having a great political debate in our office. I was reading the Economist this week. I guess they found a great idea you had. Here is a link to their article on the survey they conducted of economists in america.

Oct 4, 2008
Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time, and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country.
When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank.
You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families.
That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin!
Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin!
You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the eternal God, I will rout you out.
Andrew Jackson
to a delegation of bankers - 1832
Oct 4, 2008
Jonathan Schwarz:
Abraham Lincoln Speaks Out On Public Money And Banks
This is Abraham Lincoln, then an Illinois state representative, speaking in the legislature on January 11, 1837. He’s referring to a dispute between private shareholders of the Illinois State Bank:
It is an old maxim and a very sound one, that he that dances should always pay the fiddler. Now, sir, in the present case, if any gentlemen, whose money is a burden to them, choose to lead off a dance, I am decidedly opposed to the people’s money being used to pay the fiddler…all this to settle a question in which the people have no interest, and about which they care nothing. These capitalists generally act harmoniously, and in concert, to fleece the people, and now, that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people’s money to settle the quarrel.
Lincoln’s speech was given just as one of the greatest speculative bubbles in US history was bursting. This was followed by the Panic of 1837, which led to a six-year contraction described by Milton Friedman as “the only depression on record comparable in severity and scope to the Great Depression.”
Oct 4, 2008
NOT MINE.; According to the conservative wingnuts at the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the superiority of Wal-Mart's Katrina response shows that the private sector is simply more effective than the government. Well, yes, oddly enough, when you starve a government by draining its resources and electing officials who don't believe in it, nothing seems to work. MINE; WHEN OUTSIDERS CAN'T HEAR THEM, NEOCONS SAY THEY WANT A GOVERMENT THATS TOO POOR TO TELL THE RICH WHAT TO DO. BUSH#1 TOLD THE IRS TO STOP MESSING WITH THE RICHS TAXS. IT WAS BETTER USE OF THEIR TIME TO GO AFTER THE NON RICH. THEY DID NOT HAVE LAWERS
Sep 29, 2008

Thanks for the time and finances you used to sponsor the Dilbert Survey of Economists. I wish we would all try to educate ourselves more on the candidates and where they stand on issues before voting. Just had a couple specific comments on the survey. IMO, I think that the fact that more economists are Democrats than Republicans shows that more economists believe Democratic fiscal policies are better for the country and therefore tend to support Obama's policies. Not that they support Obama's policies just because they are Democrats. Also, I believe the list of priorities is a bit skewed. Meaning, you're mixing big issues like Education, Healthcare with smaller issues like Increasing the proportion of taxes paid by the wealthy. I think, naturally, the bigger issues take higher priority. Please pardon my simple example here but it would be like listing priorities for improving one's health. Eating right and exercising would take priority over say eating more vegetables.
Sep 28, 2008
I actually shared this information with my uncle, my boss, and some other person I can't remember. The results did not surprise me at all and only reinforced my choice for president, but they have undoubtedly left an immense impact nonetheless.
Sep 27, 2008
It didn't make TV because it's technical.

I suddenly realized in 1992 why every TV and newspaper report of a plane crash was always impossibly wrong. It's because they're not even trying to get it right.. Technical detail, necessary to a correct report, even slightly technical detail, causes women to tune away.

If an account is correct as written, it will always be edited so it is wrong.

The product of news organizations is you, not news. They sell you to advertisers.

They will not run anything that will cause women to tune away, period.

And so, for the same reason, the Dilbert Economist Survey is not on the air.

Do a soap opera actor survey of the same thing, and it will be everywhere.
Sep 25, 2008
I have known of Sen. John McCain ever since the 2000 election, and have studied him at length in college classes and on personal time. He has foreseen how the Iron Triangle of special interest groups has corrupted Democracy in a non-partisan manner—with both parties at fault. I wish I had the opportunity to vote for him in the Primary in 2000. The New York Times, until they started smearing him this year with sexual innuendo, has been my main source of McCain info, which is available at most Central Libraries in most towns. McCain has also criticized President Bush concerning how he was fighting the Iraq war. I remember this, because at times it seemed annoying to me at the time. I’ll admit that McCain is much wiser than me.

Instead of debating point by point on which candidate is more intelligent, I will instead discuss the faulty premise for this post. Brain power is as difficult to prove as one's faith in God. It is all subjective. Joe Biden may seem to have more faith in God than McCain, because he talks about it more openly, but like brainpower it is impossible to disprove or debunk. Anyone can claim these things or outwardly show them.

Some people, for example, may say that Scott Adams is secretly leaning towards Obama in his sentiments, but this, too, is impossible to prove, disprove or debunk. So let's keep our focus on where it belongs--each candidate's statements on policy plus the actual actions that the candidates have taken on the economy.

+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 25, 2008
And the previous comment was here: http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2008/04/brains-versus-c.html#comment-112773200
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 25, 2008
I posted a link to similar information here before, so I was a little bit flabbergasted to see you make the following comment:

"The only thing we ignorant voters know for sure is that we want someone with a high IQ to sort out this mess on our behalf. ... [McCain] doesn't come close to Obama in pure brain power."

So to link this again:


And the money quote regarding McCain: "Included in the records is a 1984 IQ test. His score, 133, would rank him among the most intelligent Presidents in history."

Sep 25, 2008
Hmm... I have to once again suggest that you try to get a spot on the Daily Show or Colbert Report. Seeing as how about half of each program's major material is making of fun of supposedly "hard" news programs and channels, I'm sure they'd love to get a serious interview with a guy with actual information on the issues.

Again, it would totally be live in front of a studio audience. DO IT.
Sep 25, 2008
"No matter how much you love McCain's philosophy, track record, moral compass, common sense, or anything else about him, he doesn't come close to Obama in pure brain power"

How true. While Obama gives empty speeches McCain actually has solutions. He came up with the idea to institute a process where we catch large firms (lehman-bros) who are getting into trouble BEFORE the bottom drops out so the government doesn't need to rescue them, they can rescue themselves. He recognizes, unlike Obama, that no country has ever taxed itself into prosperity.

He is !$%*! ahead of Obama when it comes to brain power, experience, and who is more fit to run our country.
Sep 25, 2008
65% of your economists were academics, only 12% had real jobs.

Professors are notoriously liberal/Democrat, on the order of 85% or greater. So, it seems that Economists are less likely to register Democrat (48%) or vote Democrat (66%) than are other Academics/Professors.

66% of your respondants said they would vote for Obama, whereas 48% said they were Democrats. A ratio of 1.38.

28% of your respondants said they would vote for McCain, whereas only 17% said they were Republicans. A ratio of 1.65.

So, in several measures, Economists are more likely to support McCain than one would expect either on the basis of their chosen profession as Academics, or on the basis of their political affiliation.

I would love to know the opinions of Economists who have real jobs. The ones whose opinions are actually used to make financial decisions.

But you only found about 60 of those.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 25, 2008
Not sure why it's cut off, I meant to say: Perhaps the direction of causality is wrong? Economists may choose to be democrats because the economic policies that Obama proposes seem more sound to them.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 25, 2008
Perhaps the direction of causality is wrong? Economists may be democrats because Obama proposes policies.
Sep 25, 2008

Why bother?


If an amercian sees the world likes obama, his reaction be to go with the opposite. The easiest thing to do is to do the opposite. Or else over the last 3 decades, I noticed if there are two choices, and one of them is better, America will choose the wrong one.

If you can choose an afghan to fight the soviets, would you train an obama?

If you can choose to drive a hybrid, or use public transport, choose an SUV.

If you can save the savings and lonas crisis in 1989 with one approach, choose the same for the sub prime induced crunch

If you can choose negotiation, choose war.

If you need to secure oil, kill the market.

If you need to save dollar, save the chinese from making a loss.

I love America.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 25, 2008
I noticed that The Economist is running a survey called What if the Whole World Could Vote (http://www.economist.com/vote2008/?source=hptextfeature). So far it's 100% Obama.
That seems like it would be worth watching as more of the global population participates - it makes me very interested to see what the political bent of The Economist's demographic is. I had always assumed it to be a fairly conservative publication.
Sep 25, 2008
Scott, there are thousands of books on Economics, but try to find
just one single good book on Currency Theory. Those 'smarter
people' don't really want you to understand how the monetary
system works, as that is in their best interest and not ours.

The three hour video "The Money Masters - How International
Bankers Gained Control" explains this house of collapsing cards,
by covering the last 3000 years of 'Money'. In the end every
fractional reserve system has collapsed.

More details can be found here:

"...the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press.."
Ben S. Bernanke current chairmen of the Federal Reserve; November 21, 2002.
Kind of seems like it was all planed doesn't it...
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 25, 2008
"I wouldn't have funded the survey if I didn't have this blog. And I wouldn't have this blog if people didn't leave comments. So if the Dilbert Survey of Economists ends up changing the world, and you have ever left a comment here, you were part of something important."


It's the most beatiful thing i've been told this week
Sep 24, 2008

I have been following your blog for some time and like your style.

Another writer, David Foster Wallace, whom I admired died on Sept 12, apparently committing suicide. He was apparently suffering from depression, but it might just have been the television, or the Large Hadron Collider, who knows?

I bring this up because I think he came close to matching your ‘acerbic wit’ (you just need to read the first essay from the collection ‘Consider The Lobsters’ to see what I mean).

David Foster Wallace was one of the brightest brains of our times, better known as the author of ‘Infinite Jest’, a 1000 page work of fiction, but I think he will be equally remembered for his essays.

One of his essays, based on his experience of covering John McCain's presidential campaign in 2000, became a chapter in his essay collection "Consider the Lobster" (2005); the essay has now been issued as a stand-alone book, "McCain's Promise.” However, in an interview with WSJ, he said he rejected the premise of the essay and said it was ‘heavily context-dependent’, and ‘And that context now seems a long, long, long time ago.’
In an answer to the questions “What parallels do you see between McCain in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008?”, he said, “there are some similarities—the ability to attract new voters, Independents; the ability to raise serious money in a grassroots way via the Web. But there are also lots of differences, many too obvious to need pointing out….”.

I think, he made it pretty plain whom he supported this time around. I changed my mind after reading this interview. I am not surpised that the Dilbert Survey of Economists is also pointing in a similar direction.

Because I am not an American, my vote doesn’t count, but I do think that DFW was an important American thinker and, so are you.

Abhay Vohra

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