Public: A Pox On Both Your Houses, But On The Republicans’ House More

Jul 20, 2011 10:39am

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll  provides an interesting glimpse into public attitudes about the current deficit impasse.

Generally speaking the poll numbers are bad for the president, and even worse for the GOP.

The public registers tremendous discontent with the federal government – 80 percent are dissatisfied or angry with the way the federal government is working – the highest number since 1992, during the era of another economic downturn and the ouster of incumbent President George H.W. Bush. That number has shot up 11 points in just the last month.

Only 40 percent of the public approves of the job President Obama is doing in his handling of the economy, a new low. But Republicans in Congress fare worse – only 28 percent approve of their handling.

In terms of the deficit impasse, the public wants more compromise. A majority 58 percent say President Obama hasn’t done enough to compromise on the deficit. A whopping 77 percent say that about Republicans – including 58 percent of Republicans and conservatives, and 62 percent of Tea Party supporters.

So what to do? What’s the path out?

A majority — 62 percent — say deficit reduction be accomplished with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Sixty-four percent of independents share that view. A minority of Republicans – 46 percent — believe in that approach.

A minority of the public – 32 percent — say deficit reduction should be done with just spending cuts. Fifty percent of Republicans support this approach.

What sacrifices is the public willing to make?

  • 72 percent of the public backs higher taxes on those who earn $250,000 a year or more;
  • 66 percent would raise the income level subject to Social Security taxes;
  • 64 percent favor raising taxes on hedge fund managers from the current 15%;
  • 61 percent would raise Medicare premiums for better-off retirees;
  • 59 percent support higher taxes on oil and gas companies;
  • 46 percent favor raising the age of eligibility for Medicare health insurance from 65 to 67;
  • 42 percent favor slowing the rate of growth in Social Security benefits;
  • 43 percent support cutting military spending; and
  • 26 percent support cutting Medicaid spending.

-Jake Tapper

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