People were wondering what the reaction would be, not just during the debt denouement, but immediately after. Well, now we know.
In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken hours after the Senate passed and President Obama signed the deal, a 46% plurality disapprove of the agreement; 39% approve. Only one in five see it as a “step forward” in addressing the federal debt.
“People don’t know jack” about the particulars of the agreement, “but what you heard about the process throughout was that it was horrible,” says Joseph White, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University who studies budget policy. “Most people assume that whatever came out of this horrible process was pretty crappy.”
The sour reaction even after a compromise was struck underscores why the negotiations were so difficult, says Stan Collender, a former staffer on the House and Senate budget committees who is a partner at Qorvis Communications. “There was almost no way at all that elected officials were going to win on this one. No matter what they did, a lot of people were going to dislike it.
And who disliked it the most? Was it liberals? Moderates? Nah, it was the sourpuss tea party that hates everything and anything that has to do with, you know, governance.
Though Tea Party conservatives succeeded in setting the parameters of the debate, supporters of the Tea Party are among those most unhappy with the outcome. Only 22% of Tea Party supporters approve of the deal, compared with 26% of Republicans generally and 58% of Democrats.
And although Obama and congressional Democrats failed to make higher taxes on the wealthy part of the agreement, moderate and liberal Democrats were among those who rate it most highly. Two-thirds of moderate Democrats approve of the agreement.
And as in just about every other poll, Obama comes out least bad (but not good):
None of the policymakers involved gets high ratings for handling the negotiations, although Obama’s standing is the least bad: 41% approve, 49% disapprove.
The congressional leaders — House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. — fare worse, with approval ratings that trail their disapproval ratings by about 20 percentage points. Even the Tea Party members of Congress score a bit better than that: 33% approve, 49% disapprove.
Gallup often publishes separate analysis, and this is from their website:
Americans’ reactions may signify a realization that the agreement is far from the final word on the federal debt situation. The law calls for the formation of a bipartisan congressional committee to search for additional spending cuts to avoid automatic cuts to defense and domestic spending that would go into effect if the committee cannot find additional savings this year. Erskine Bowles, co-chairman of last year’s federal debt commission, notes that this week’s agreement does not address tax reform or rising healthcare costs, two key drivers of the deficit problem.
Americans as a whole increasingly view the debt and deficit as a problem, with the percentage naming it as the most important problem in recent months the highest in more than a decade. Americans’ tepid response to the debt agreement suggests that their perception of the debt as a national problem is not likely to recede anytime soon.
• 65 percent approve of $ 1 trillion in cuts in government spending over the next 10 years (30 percent opposed)
• 60 percent disapprove of the fact that the agreement does not include any tax increases for businesses or higher-income Americans
In the USA Today/Gallup poll, add one more thing:
The hard-won, last-minute agreement to raise the debt ceiling and cut the deficit gets low ratings from Americans, who by more than 2-1 predict it will make the nation’s fragile economy worse rather than better.
The commenter above may suggest “people don’t know jack” but since cutting back spending in a recession is a bad idea, they are probably right on the money for the wrong reasons.