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Voters Split on Best Strategy To Maintain Economic Boom

By Richard Morin

and Claudia Deane
THE WASHINGTON POST -- Voters overwhelmingly agree that the economy is booming, but sharply disagree about what the next president should do to prolong the current prosperity, according to a new survey by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University.

From globalization to tax policy to their views on technology and the New Economy, economic issues once again divide Republicans from Democrats this election year.

But the survey also revealed that many of these same issues divide each party into contrasting and frequently competing factions that likely will test the political skills and tax the patience of whoever is elected president.

Overall, 43 percent named either taxes or an economic concern as one of their top two voting issues this year.

Using a statistical technique that grouped together voters who held similar positions on tax and economic issues, Mollyann Brodie, vice president for public opinion research at the Kaiser Family Foundation, identified four distinct types of voters, and the traits that distinguish them.

1. The Winners: For these voters, this is America’s golden age -- and their own, as well. Seven in 10 say they’ve never seen the country so prosperous. Nearly half report family incomes of $75,000 or more, easily the most affluent of the four voting groups.

2. Downscale Democrats: The new economy doesn’t feel much different than the old economy to these Americans.

3. The New Isolationists: These GOP voters also have seen the New Economy and they don’t like it, either. A majority (54 percent) say globalization is “mostly bad” for the United States. Nearly nine in 10 say trade agreements with other countries costs the United States more jobs than they create.

4. The Downsizers: Smaller is better to these fiscally conservative Democrats: Nine in 10 prefer a smaller federal government over a larger one. 22 percent of all economy voters are Downsizers.