The Worry Baseline

Kevin Drum and Joe Klein blog about a Washington Post poll question on how worried people are about making their mortgage payments:

I find data like this almost impossible to interpret. What’s the baseline? Back in 2005 when the media wasn’t interested in housing problems and nobody was polling this issue, how many people would have said they were worried about mortgage payments? How much do people say they’re worried about things in general? How much more do people start worrying about their mortgage when you specifically start pestering them about it. I bet most Americans between the ages of 25 and 40, in practice, rarely worry about saving for retirement. But if you ask them about it then they’ll start worrying. Right?