If you're the kind of person who's interested in understanding how Americans think about the economy, the latest Allstate-National Journal Heartland poll is like opening a cask of fine Bordeaux wine. Here are five insights that stuck with me:

1) If you cut Americans' taxes, most of us will only use it to pay down debt.

2) Americans trust their government as little as Goldman Sachs.

3) The most important economic indicator for Americans is the unemployment rate. The stock market and corporate earnings come toward the bottom.

4) America's plan to speed up the recovery: Help small businesses and retrain workers.

5) Americans don't believe that deficit reduction is a priority, but they also believe that reforming entitlements like Social Security and Medicare is more important than expanding them.

And here are the graphs from the poll results:

Tax Cuts Won't Stimulate in This Recession:
If you give Americans more money, by and large they're going to pay down debt rather than spend into the economy.

What People Can Do.png

Americans Trust Elected Officials As Little as Investment Banks
Only 13 percent of Americans say they are more confident in elected officials than last year, and 58 percent said they are less confident. The numbers for investment banks are practically the same -- 12 and 58 percent, respectively.

Trust More than year ago.png

Unemployment is the Most Important Indicator
Americans said unemployment and consumer spending was more important than corporate earnings and the stock market.

First, Help Small Businesses

Americans have an economic plan: Get credit to small businesses, retrain workers, reduce outsourcing and create new jobs.

Most Important govt steps.png

What Deficit? Cut Taxes and Spend!
Americans seem to put short term job creation over deficit reduction.

Jobs or Deficit.png

Save Social Security

A slight majority seems to back cutting benefits and/or raising payroll taxes to reinforce entitlements like Social Security.


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