To Matt Yglesias, for something that we've seen many time before but is always worth pointing out: that, as he puts it, "only a fool would outline a credible specific plan to reduce the deficit" because Americans actually support spending more, not less, on just about everything. He explains more here.
This is all based on new numbers from Pew, which trumpets the finding that Americans really, really, really think budget deficits are important. No surprise; almost everyone who talks about this stuff on TV, certainly including the leaders of both major political parties, say that deficits are important, and when there's (rhetorical) elite consensus we would expect public opinion to reflect that.
If Pew really wants to be helpful, however, what they would do is to explore what people really think about when they say "deficit." Long-time readers will know that I'm extremely skeptical of this one; I suspect that a substantial number of voters use "deficit" as a synonym for recession, not to mean the difference between government revenues and expenditures. And that's not even taking into account "war on budgeting" Republicans, who seem to use deficit as a shorthand for government spending they don't like.
Anyway, I'd love to see someone ask some questions that would get at all of that. As far as I know, there's never been anything like that; every polling question about deficits goes in assuming that respondents know what "deficit" means in (normal) Washington policy-talk, and use it the same way. Maybe they do! That would only mean that voters are inconsistent on deficits, as they surely are about spending (liking cuts in general but not in specific areas). But I'm not altogether sure about it, and I would love to find out.
Oh, and: nice catch!