New data from a CNN/ORC poll shows that since the Super Committee seems headed for failure, the resulting budget “haircut” will produce precisely the cuts the American public least desires.
Both parties in Congress are viewed as part of the problem — Americans disapprove of the job Republicans are doing at a 77 percent clip, and 68 percent think Democrats are doing a lousy job as well. But when it comes to specific policy proposals, it’s fairly one sided. Support for higher taxes on businesses and high income individuals is the highest rated idea with two thirds of Americans for it, second is cuts to domestic programs at 60 percent.
One of the least popular options are actually what’s slated to happen if the Super Committee doesn’t reach an accord — support for cuts to defense hovers around forty percent. So does “major changes” to the Medicare systems and Social Security. The current plan should the Super Committee fail is a two percent cut to Medicare providers, cuts to defense and to other domestic programs. Of course, leaders can still reach another deal before those cuts become reality in 2013, but they’ll have to overcome a filibuster vote.
On higher taxes for the rich and business, support is high among all ideological groups, and only comes close for self-described conservatives who support the idea 47 percent of the time and oppose it at a 51 percent rate. Liberals go for the idea 86 percent of the time and moderates 79.
On the flip side, a sizable percentage of liberals also support cuts to major domestic programs, 41 percent, while a 56 percent majority of moderates and 73 percent of conservatives do as well. So it seems that a deal most resembling the “balanced approach” between new revenues and cuts continues to be the most palatable, as it has since the Super Committee was announced.
The ideological drivers here are apparent: despite a clear message in the public polling on deficit issues for months, Republicans did not want to embrace higher tax rates on wealthy individuals and businesses, fearing an increase would stifle recovery. Democrats didn’t want to move much on entitlement reform, but that prospect was less popular anyway, so we are now left with the existing cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and a large chunk of defense spending, which nobody seems to like.
The CNN/ORC poll used 1,019 live telephone interviews with American adults conducted from November 18th to the 20th. It has a sampling error of three points.
2:10: This post was updated.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.