Keep this in mind, though:
Our survey is not, by any means, a scientific poll of all economists. We e-mailed a questionnaire to 683 research associates, all we could track down, of the National Bureau of Economic Research, America’s premier association of applied academic economists, though the NBER itself played no role in the survey. A total of 142 responded, of whom 46% identified themselves as Democrats, 10% as Republicans and 44% as neither. This skewed party breakdown may reflect academia’s Democratic tilt, or possibly Democrats’ greater propensity to respond.
Although maybe that’s not that important:
Still, even if we exclude respondents with a party identification, Mr Obama retains a strong edge—though the McCain campaign should be buoyed by the fact that 530 economists have signed a statement endorsing his plans.
Yet economists’ opinions should count for something because irrespective of any party affiliation, most of them approach policy decisions with the same basic tool kit. Their assessment of the candidates’ economic credentials and plans represents an informed judgment on how well they will handle difficult trade-offs between efficiency, equity, growth and consensus-building.
Although as Thomas Kida has argued economics, and especially economic forecasting, might be one of those things that appears to be more scientific than it really is. Still, that doesn’t mean we should ignore their opinions. After all, especially since Reagan, Republican Presidents have racked up more debt than Democrats (okay, there was only Clinton in that reign of deregulation…).