How well do people understand the term ‘government deficit’? – alittleecon


Oh. My word. Vox Political readers won’t make the mistakes recounted here, being far too well-read for that. However, it is bad enough that other people are thinking these things. Alex Little explains:


Here’s an interesting poll finding from Yougov this week. They asked people the question “How well would you say you understand what people mean when they talk about the government’s deficit?” In answer, 69% said they had a very clear or fairly clear understanding. Not bad then. It’s talked about every day by politicians, so it’s good people understand what it means.

Not so fast though. Yougov followed up by asking “Which of the following do you think best describes the government’s deficit?” The majority (51%) thought “The total amount of money the government has borrowed” rather than the more correct description (“The amount of extra money that the government borrows each year”), which was only picked by 31%.

This is probably good for the Tories.

Find out why on alittleecon.

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4 thoughts on “How well do people understand the term ‘government deficit’? – alittleecon

  1. samspruce

    It is creepy because “the extra money they borrow” is still not really the deficit. It can often be seen or measured in terms of the extra money borrowed but it is really “the shortfall in what is deemed due”. It is interesting because it is the word “deemed” that has more significance than it is ever given thereby hiding the insidious device that keeps us all living in someone else’s delusion and therefore under their control. In short it hides the usury.

    1. Andy

      I never thought about it in those terms. So it could be the government is engineering the shortfall as an excuse to shrink the state by not putting up taxes or not collecting them in the first place.

  2. Andy

    It’s one thing understanding what the government deficit is. What’s even harder to understand is the options to address the problem. It’s sad to say that many working people have been convinced to vote against their own self interest. This is why the 1% is representing the 99%.

  3. Lynn Dye

    I think you are totally right, Andy. I noticed following the autumn statement on listening to radio discussions, that the presenter obviously thought that the debt and the deficit are the same thing. And this person is certainly not alone, which leads me to presume that a large amount of people think that Osborne has actually reduced the national debt rather than practically doubling it! Which has to be the reason for a majority trusting the Tories with the economy, rather than Labour.

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