If all you know is what you see on this table, it would be impossible to disagree with Mr. Blow's point. 

The problem is, this table is a setup.  It is shown in a way that cannot but help the Obama/Democrat side. 

Here are two reasons why:

1. The poll data lump "increase and "stay the same" together.  But the intention of this administration is to increase spending in every area shown on the table.  Therefore, to hold spending exactly at current levels is, in fact, a decrease in what Mr. Obama and his fellow Democrats want. 

What do you suppose the data would show if "stay the same" were, instead, lumped with "decrease"?  Do you think you'd get the same kind of results?  

Oh, what's that?  Some readers dispute my point about staying the same being equivalent to a decrease?  Ok, then how about if the data were split into three parts:  increase, stay the same, and decrease.  How do you think they would turn out then?  How many of these areas would show more people wanting a decrease in spending than an increase?

By showing its data this way, this information is being kept from you.  Why do you suppose?

Pew is a reputable outfit, and I assume the organization did not do this.  Which leaves the Times.  Did it intentionally lump "increase" and "the same" together to mold public opinion?  That wouldn't surprise me a bit.

2. Then we have the question itself.  Please note that it is entirely generic:  i.e. do you want to increase or decrease spending for a series of mostly positive reasons.  When put that way, of course a great many people would say they want the government to spend more.  But that is not the same as, for example, citing how much is currently spent, and asking if respondents think that amount is more than enough, enough, or less than enough to operate with.  Or asking respondents which areas they would want the country to go further into debt for. 

When no specific amounts are mentioned, the question is entirely abstract - and you get what marketing research people sometimes call a "blue sky" response, which is to say a response apropos of nothing real.  It is like asking a family if it wants to spend more on a variety of personal and philanthropic activities, like giving to charities, taking more vacations, etc - without asking where the money is coming from.  Sure, spend more on everything .  Spend spend spend. 

Is this kind of garbage what we should expect from the New York Times?  Nope, The Times is supposed to be a newspaper.

Is it what we have come to expect from the New York Times?  Yep.  The Times, whatever it is supposed to be, is now a propaganda sheet for the left.

Too bad.  A real newspaper once lived on those pages.


UPDATE:  I checked that table with Pew Research Center.  And, as I suspected, this is not the way Pew put it together, it is the way the Times did.

Pew, to its credit, showed all three components - increase, stay the same and decrease - separately.

But, just for fun, I thought I would turn the tables on the Times, and lump "stay the same" with "decrease".  Here is what we get then:


                                           Increase spending   Stay the same/Decrease spending


Aid to the world's needy                      21%                          76%

State Department                               14                              80

Unemployment Aid                               24                              73

Military Defense                                  32                              65

Aid to needy in U.S.                             27                              68

Health Care                                        38                              66

Environmental protection                      33                              65

Energy                                              36                              59

Scientific research                               37                              60

Agriculture                                         34                              62

Anti-terrorism Defenses                        32                              65

Roads and infrastructure                       38                              60

Medicare                                            36                              61

Combating Crime                                  41                              55

Food and drug inspection                       33                              64

Natural Disaster relief                            34                              62

Education                                            60                              39

Social Security                                     41                              56

Veterans' benefits                                53                              44

Look a little different now? 

As you can see, the only things which come out on the "spend more" side are Veterans' benefits, and education (which, in reality is state and local, not federal).  In other words, veterans and pretty much nothing else.

I rest my case.