Another poll, another plea from America to the president and Congress to preserve the safety net, even if that means raising taxes. This poll, from United Technologies/
Congressional Connection, echoes the better news for President Obama
in his fight with the GOP. But it also has a warning.
The best news for Obama in the survey is that a solid plurality of Americans expressed more trust in him than in congressional Republicans to make decisions on the intertwined issues of raising the borrowing limit and reducing long-term debt. On the subject of the deficit, 46 percent of respondents said they trust Obama most to “make the right decisions,” while 34 percent said they place more faith in congressional Republicans. Regarding the debt ceiling, a virtually identical 46 percent leaned toward Obama and 35 percent chose the GOP.
And here's the warning part, in the internals of the poll provided to Greg Sargent.
What if pollsters asked Americans which concerns them more: The prospect of tax hikes on people like them, or the possibility of cuts to Medicare and Social Security? ...[B]y a sizable margin, a plurality is more concerned about cuts to entitlements than about paying more taxes. It’s yet another sign that the public is on the Dems’ side in this fight.
Here’s the key finding, from the internals of the poll, which were sent my way by National Journal:
In the debate over proposals to increase the federal debt ceiling, which of the following possible outcomes concern you most?
A default on the federal debt that could raise interest rates for things like mortgages and consumer loans: 17
An agreement that raises taxes on people like you: 17
An agreement that authorizes too much federal spending in the next few years: 19
An agreement that cuts too much from government programs like Medicare and Social Security: 39
Far more worry about cuts to entitlements than about tax hikes on themselves. Even among Republicans worry is running slightly higher over entitlements, 25-23.
And this also applies to those over $75,000, with 28 percent worried about entitlements cuts and only 19 percent worried about higher taxes.
The Republicans are certainly looking toward 2012 in this debt ceiling fight. Their calculation is they can force Obama and the Democrats to go through with safety net cuts and neutralize that issue. That the Democrats seem to be following merrily down a path that, as Sargent says, "cuts spending, contains no new tax increases, and sets up a commission that would zero in on entitlements later," is "yet another measure of just how dysfunctional the Senate has become, and how far to the right of public opinion the debate in Congress has drifted." It also shows how far to the right of public opinion the White House has drifted.