Kevin Drum suggests that the reason independents tell pollsters they support the things that Barack Obama wants to do about the deficit but don't approve of Obama on the deficit is because "the vast, vast majority of independents don't really have any idea what Obama's plan to handle the deficit is."
While I'm sure he's correct about the claim he makes in the clause I quoted, I'll take the opportunity to repeat my frequent assertion (unfortunately untested, as far as I know) that the claim would also be true if you remove the words "Obama's plan to handle." That is, I find it quite plausible that (many? most?) independents have no idea that "deficit" refers to the difference between federal government revenues and federal government expenditures, but instead use it as a synonym for "bad things in the economy." The basic text for this assertion, which I've referred to many times, is a question to George H.W. Bush, Ross Perot, and Bill Clinton about how the deficit affected them personally, asked at a town-hall style 1992 debate.