Poll: Americans not crazy about leaders' handling of debt crisis
July 29th, 2011
10:33 AM ET
3 years ago

Poll: Americans not crazy about leaders' handling of debt crisis

Washington (CNN) – Americans are giving their top political leaders the thumbs down when it comes to how they are handling the debt ceiling crisis, according to a new national poll.

A Gallup survey indicates that 41 percent of the public approve of how President Barack Obama's handling the negotiations to raise the nation's debt level, with 52 percent saying they disapprove and eight percent unsure.

According to the poll, only 31 percent approve of how House Speaker John Boehner is handling the negotiations, with 48 percent saying they disapprove of how the top Republican in the House is handling the crisis and just over one in five unsure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fares even worse, with just 23 percent giving the top Senate Democrat a positive review, 52 percent disapproving and one in four unsure of how Reid's handling the debt ceiling talks.

"Obama does better than the other two, based in large part on the high approval rating he receives from his fellow Democrats," says a release from Gallup. "Boehner receives significantly less loyalty from Republicans, half of whom approve of his handling of the situation. This no doubt reflects the current divisions within the Republican Party, with conservatives and Tea Party supporters pressing for a rigid stance against compromise and tax increases, while other Republicans are more inclined to push for a settlement with Obama and the Democrats."

The Gallup poll was conducted Wednesday, with 1,007 national adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.


Filed under: Debt • Deficit • John Boehner • President Obama
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    The HOUSE debated and voted on naming a P.O.

    HEY - I'm happy (not).

    July 29, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. BobAD

    House Speaker John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi please step down and allow a truly bi-partisan group of Moderate House Members from both sides save this budget crisis. What do the American People have to do to let both of you know that the extremists on both sides do not speak for the majority?

    July 29, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Four and The Door

    So far, the only bill passed to raise the debt ceiling has been the House Cut, Cap and Balance act. What have the Democratic leaders done to solve this issue? Gone on TV to campaign and blast the Republicans and demand a tax increase? Thank goodness that idea got dropped.

    July 29, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Obama is the main problem. his runaway spending, has put us in the position of having to put up a stone wall to any more spending, to have any chance, of getting the debt under control within a lifetime. In the midst of all of this, he is still maneuvering, to keep the ability to spend, spend, spend.

    July 29, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Can you imagine the fiscal mess would be in if the Republican Tea Party could do everything they wanted. No more EPA, NIH, and NASA. No more infrastructure upgrades, contaminated water and food, no police because everyone defended himself with their own guns, no more public schools, libraries and hospitals. Gee, it sounds like the third world country they keep accusing the President of trying to create.

    July 29, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. Sonya Daniels

    Why not cut into welfare system anyone under the age of 60 take off welfare! Restructure the system to help the lazy to get off their butt and work. Welfare was a great system to help someone in a temporary position and I know of many in the south that are on welfare and are able to work and do work and in addition they sell the food stamps for money to aid in their addiction to drugs??????? To many on welfare and disability benefits that DO NOT NEED IT!!!!!!!!!

    July 29, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. Sniffit

    Nobody comes out of this unscathed...it's a pyrrhic victory for Obama to some extent, but that's also partly what the GOP was seeking too: from the get go their attitude has been "if we're going down, we're taknig ALL of you with us." As far tas the GOP is concerend, ten years that have finally proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the GOP's sacred economic dogma is a carefully cultured lie plus demographic shifts that have them filling their manpampers = time to hand as much power and control to the richa and corporations or, failnig that, sink the ship, blame the other guys and hope the loose conglomeration of nation-states that are left can be slowly taken over and pieced back together under GOP control through coroprate money, influence and the indentured servitude serfdom of the neatly destroyed middle-class.

    July 29, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. Rickster

    Forty-one per cent approve of how Obama is handling this?? That just goes to show how uninformed the American people are. Obama has contributed absolutely nothing.....no plan, no help, no solutions. He is so useless that even the democrats have cast him aside to try to get something done.

    July 29, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. Light In The Black

    I dont see how anybody can hold this against Obama, its up to congress to write this stuff
    Obama approves it or vetos it.....
    Oh....sorry....i forgot....
    Republicans who dont know how our government works....
    Never mind.

    July 29, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  10. gt

    no surprise here ..40 % of america will back obama no matter what he does...95 % of afro americans will always back him no matter how bad a job he does... but us independence ... not so happy....

    July 29, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. Ray E. Georgia

    Unfortunely Obama has gone about everything wrong as well as the Democrats when they had the Congress. The Democrats didn't pass a Budget. If Obama had extended the Bush Tax cuts a lot sooner for at least 10 years more people would be working. Now he wants to raise the Debt liimit without any Fiscal Responsibility. The people VOTED in the last election to say they had enough of huge spending but Obama don't hear. The democrats don't hear. So does the country finally get serius or do we go into another depression. The huge nearly 15 Trillion Dollar debt is no laughing matter. Is it more red ink or fiscal responsibilty?

    July 29, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  12. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    And just HOW have the Democrats been "handling" this?? Let's see...their plan is ....they have no plan. They have been sent two plans that they refused to pass and/or consider. Obama refuses to take a position on anything. He sabotaged an agreement with increased new tax demands.

    If I were Boehner, I'd call the House to order and then sit and wait for a bill from the Senate. The House Republicans have tried over and over but you have Democrats that just want to play politics with this problem. Democrats control two thirds of the process show should be putting their plans forward and voting on them. If they don't, then THEY will cause the first default in this country's history. THEY will have proven once again, they are totally incapable of managing this country's finances. THEY will have proven they need to be removed in 2012, as if we didn't already know that.

    July 29, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. Sebastian

    Man up America. Pick a party and hold them responsible. As long as we are willing to say "both parties are to blame" we won't get any accountability.

    If you want your leadership to make the hard choices, you have to make the hard choice and call out one for punishment and reward the other one. That's the only way to get out of this perpetual gridlock. If we reward these people for behaving this way, they won't stop.

    Spare the rod, spoil the child is one of those time tested truths of life. Now I know in our 21st century world, SOME people think beating your kids is "child abue" but I'm sorry, you are wrong. When your child acts up 1st you talk to him/her, then you give them a time out, then you put them on punishment and finally, you send them outside to get the switch.

    It's time to pull the leaves off the switch.

    July 29, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. Mike

    But republicans believe that the last election was a mandate for them? Their star sure has fallen hard in just a short time.

    July 29, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    The low poll numbers are bad for the Democrats but WORST for the GOP/Tea Party. American voters will punish the GOP/Tea Party for causing the financial crisis, especially when interest rates go up, 401K savings go down in value, and Social Security checks are delayed. Politics are about who wins and who loses. The well intentioned Tea Party politicians are ensuring everyone loses.

    July 29, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  16. Time for another change

    Obama has simply not shown the leadership necessary to bring the parties together on this issue. He talks of compromise then threatens veto while Reid guarantees that no Democrat will vote for the GOP bill. Yet, Reid doesn't present his bill until the GOP has the votes to pass their in the house. The GOP is clearly leading the effort here, not the White House.

    July 29, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  17. mik

    Can't find the right words to capture my fear of, disgust with and hate of these parade examples of criminal ineptness.

    July 29, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. Sue

    It's very difficult to work with people that are so immature and lack flexiblity! In the business world...those individuals would be fired! The people have to "fire" these rigid ideologues and until then we are stuck with them.....God help us!

    July 29, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. once upon a horse

    since when does Congress pay attention to polls? A majority of Americans polled favor shared sacrafice, closing corporate loopholes, ending breaks for big oil, and ending the Bush tax cuts. No wonder the approval rating for Congress is 34% for Dems and even lower at 28% for Republicans.

    July 29, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. DJ in TX

    American's are smart. They want compromise as they know the positions of either the far right or left don't work. Somewhere in the middle is when things get done. Even the Tea Party darling, President Reagan compromised to get things done. BTW – that's when the debt and deficits started to rise (16 times during Reagan's presidency).

    Obama is right on one thing – American's voted for a dividied government to force BOTH sides to the table. But not for this.........During the 80's when Reagan was President, compromise brought on good times. The same with Clinton........History as shown us this is the way....Get it done in Washington

    July 29, 2011 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. AEK

    Leaders? This is all about the House of Representatives. The President has stated repeatedly that it is up to the Congress to initiate the increase in the debt ceiling. If he were to do it by executive order they would blame him for that too!

    July 29, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Thomas Mc

    Republicans are just proving the one point that they make in every campaign: government doesn't work (when you elect Republicans).

    July 29, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. John

    What need to be done Is show this poll to both up the Republican and democrats. And may be that they will see that the American People want to COMPROMISE and Quit wasting time we don't have. Any way If both party COMPROMISE the Only ones that going to win Is America and the American People, and Isn't that who should win In all Of this. No one party Is going to get everything they want you have to COMPROMISE. Why Is It that every body In America can see this but you two party. YOU HAVE TO COMPROMISE, It as plan as the nose on your face. So open your eyes and see what every body else In America all ready know and that Is thought COMPROMISE.

    July 29, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. DA

    I don't get it blaming the President for something the House Republicans are doing!! Seriously, these should be separate issues to say the least, but you get those idiots putting them together in one bill!! The National debt has been raised in the past with out any issues, but yet these clowns want to pretty much tank the Country? Are they Serious? To be honest they have already cost the US its rating stance, so we can kiss that goodbye, because that is gone even if they do pass something.
    Humm maybe we need to start call them out on it like they use to scream at the Democrats back in the day....I find it to be so Un-American!!! They are not Patriots!!! They are not True Americans!!! Where is the test to show they are truly patriotic?
    Let's kick all those clowns out in the next election 2012 OBAMA!!

    July 29, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  25. Rob R

    Just because the Republicans have put 2 bills out there doesn't mean they are good ones. There is no point in having to redo this whole charade 6 months from now – when we will be even more into the election cycle and passions will be even hotter. We need to take care of it NOW so we can get back to focussing on JOBS which really should be the top priority because a healthy economy with low unemployment can feed itself. Both the Boehner and Reid plans will make the economy worse because they only focus on spending cuts which will put more drag on middle/working class families who are already screwed.

    We have let the Tea Party dictate the terms of these negotiations and that's dangerous because these people ARE NOT ECONOMISTS and do not understand how the global economic system works. They think its just soooooo easy to cut spending and that will solve all the problems. Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

    July 29, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |