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New Pew poll has more bad news for Republicans

New Pew poll has more bad news for Republicans
REUTERS/Jason Reed
If no deal is reached to avert the sequestration cuts, 49 percent of Pew’s respondents say they will blame congressional Republicans, compared to 31 percent who would blame President Obama.

Heading into the final days of the latest manufactured crisis, the one known by the ridiculous term “sequestration,” a new Pew poll suggests that President Obama has public opinion on his side on his approach to the sequestration and especially on the key question of whether the solution to that crisis and to deficit reduction generally should involve some tax increases.

It’s worth being skeptical about how much it matters, this far away from the next election, what the electorate thinks, and equally skeptical that the hypothetical median voter has a thought-through conviction about such complex matters with so many moving parts.

But, for what it’s worth, this poll (which apparently launches a new relationship between the Pew pollsters and USA Today) finds that:

  • Just 22 percent of Americans, near a record low, consider themselves Republicans. 32 percent consider themselves Democrats and 41 percent call themselves independents.
  • If no deal is reached to avert the sequestration cuts, 49 percent of Pew’s respondents say they will blame congressional Republicans, compared to 31 percent who would blame Obama. (The remainder said they would blame both or they didn’t know whom they would blame.)
  • Obama’s approval rating, which spent much of the last two years in the 40s, stands at 51 percent, although this is a dip from 55 percent in Pew’s first poll after the election.
  • Obama’s pretty-good approval rating is a little more interesting when one considers that when Pew asked about his handling of seven specific issues, he failed to get above 50 percent approval on any of them.

Republicans might take heart from this finding: As Susan Page’s writeup of the poll for USA Today put it: “When respondents were asked which of four issues was most pressing — the deficit, guns, immigration or climate change — 51% chose the deficit, three times that of any other issue.” And, on the list of seven issues about which Pew asked, Obama’s rating on handling the deficit – just 34 percent approval – was the lowest of the seven issues.

Republicans have traditionally advertised themselves as the party that cares most about deficit reduction. But in their recent standoffs against Obama, Republicans have also tried repeatedly to insist that deficit reduction be accomplished entirely by spending cuts, while Obama has insisted on a so-called “balanced” approach that includes higher taxes on the wealthy. This may be where Obamaism got its biggest endorsement in the poll. Again, quoting from Page’s writeup:

To begin digging out, three of four Americans say a deficit plan should include both tax increases and spending cuts, akin to the "balanced" approach Obama backs. While there is stronger support to cut spending than raise taxes, only one in five say a deficit-reduction package should rely solely on spending cuts, the position embraced by House Speaker John Boehner.

The full Pew writeup of the poll is here.

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Comments (5)

The Republicans, if they

The Republicans, if they weren't so intent on "anything but what Obama will sign", might see the poll results that indicate most want more spending cuts than tax increases as a way of starting to make their way back into the discussion.

But no.

When they have made the Obama/House relationship so inherently poisonous that their only possible proposals are buffoonish propositions that no-one really wants, they are dead in the water. Look at how quickly Rubio backed away from the immigration "plan" when the Obama trial balloon sounded close to what Rubio would want.

Hold onto the crosses and garlic to keep the undead Obama away !!

Has the Walking Dead..

had an episode in the house of representatives yet ? Or possibly one of the comics oriented business could have a zombie run through the house. I would pay for admission.

Zombie ideas

Paul Krugman's term for this sort of thing.
No matter how many times you kill it, it comes back again, stronger (and smellier) than ever.

Change is bad

Republicans simply aren't going to let public opinion or widespread national preference stop them from lobbying for the opposite, and catering to their shrinking base.

They were smart enough to hush the rape and vaginal probe talk, but are just not adroit enough to heed the desires of even their own constituents on the economy. Stupid.

They may be heading into another punishing election cycle as a result.

Resisting change

is basic conservatism.
The problem is that the Republicans are not simply trying to maintain the status quo; they're trying to go back to McKinley and totally rewrite the social contract.
That's not conservative; it's reactionary.