Examining America's presidential candidates | Examining the candidates | The Economist 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, Americaâ€™s premier association of applied academic economists, though the NBER itself played no role in the survey. ... The detailed responses are bad news for Mr McCain. Eighty per cent of respondents and no fewer than 71% of those who do not cleave to either main party say Mr Obama has a better grasp of economics. Even among Republicans Mr Obama has the edge: 46% versus 23% say Mr Obama has the better grasp of the subject.