CNN Poll: Partisan divides explain super committee failure
November 21st, 2011
11:56 AM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: Partisan divides explain super committee failure

Washington (CNN) – As a congressional super committee appears close to announcing it has failed to come up with $1.2 trillion in budget cuts, a new national survey indicates most Americans support a plan that would include increasing taxes on the wealthy and major cuts in domestic spending programs.

But according to a CNN/ORC International Poll released Monday, there's a partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans over tax increases and spending cuts that explains the inability of the 12-member panel to come to an agreement on a deficit reduction plan by Wednesday's deadline.

See full results (PDF)

The survey indicates that two-thirds of the public supports increasing taxes on higher-income Americans and businesses, with just 32% opposed to such a move by the super committee. That's a slight increase since early August, when the panel of six Democrats and six Republicans was created. And by a 60% to 39% margin, Americans back major cuts in spending in domestic government programs, basically unchanged from late summer.

But the poll indicates a partisan divide, with Republicans opposed to tax increases by a 59% to 39% margin and Democrats against spending cuts by a 57% to 42% margin.

What about independent voters, who are crucial to the outcome of presidential and congressional elections?

"Nearly seven in ten independent voters don't have a problem with raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. 'But independents also back major domestic spending cuts - something that Republicans favor but Democrats oppose."

According to the survey, Americans are overwhelming opposed to raising taxes on the middle class, which was never on the table, six in ten are against major cuts in military spending, and 57% are opposed to major changes to such entitlement programs as Social Security and Medicare.

"Cuts in defense spending - one of the likeliest possibilities if the super committee fails - have grown less popular. In August, when the super committee was formed, nearly half the public supported major cuts in military spending; now six in ten say that military cuts are a bad idea," adds Holland.

So who gets the blame for the super committee's inaction?

"Neither party comes out very popular, but the approval rating of the GOP leadership in Congress has fallen further, and harder, than the same measure for congressional Democrats," says Holland.

In March, both parties' congressional leadership had the backing of about a third of the public. Now, the GOP leadership's rating has fallen 13 points, to just 21%. The Democratic leadership has also dropped, but only by six points, and their approval rating is now 29%, eight points higher than the GOP.

Those numbers tend to confirm the findings of a CNN poll released last week that show that a plurality of Americans would blame the GOP more than the Democrats if the super committee did not come up with a deficit reduction plan.

With a Monday deadline ahead of a mandated Wednesday vote on any deal, super committee members now say they are focused on how to announce that they've failed to reach any agreement. Such a failure would force automatic budget cuts, but those won't kick in until January 2013.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International Poll from Nov. 18-20, with 1,019 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • Deficit commission
soundoff (319 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    GOP Motto: "Gov't is broken...see, we broke it!!!"

    Mission Accoplished.

    November 21, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Charlie from the North

    Hey GOP the 16th Century called it would like it's policies back.

    November 21, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Leddy

    This was Obama's goal from the start so there would be no spending cuts. Democrats do not want any cuts even though Obama has increased spending 30% since taking office. The US is on a downward projectory and until we have someone that can makes some hard choices don't expect in improvements in the domestic economy or jobs.

    November 21, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  4. MTATL67

    This committee was formed because of Congressional GOP and the members of the extremist group the Tea party refusal to work out a deal. Now because of their same obstructionist agenda this committee failed. The Republicans do not get it. They refuse to listen to the American people and chose to listen to extremist like that Grover Nordquist. I see the GOP losing seats in the House and the Senate because of their obstructionist agenda in 2012.

    November 21, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Start with the white house. Fire Obama. Fire Biden.

    Move on to the senate. Fire all 100.

    Finish at the house. Fire all 435.

    November 21, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. v_mag

    There was an excellent segment on CNN about the role of gerrymandering in this problem with Congress. We can't get rid of this do-nothing Congress while the vast majority of districts have been carefully constructed to keep the incombent in office. Voters in a Republican district are always going for the Republican, and the same for Democratic districts. The only way to change that is to have new challengers in the primaries, which the parties suppress. So, we wind up with incombents firmly entrenched, Congress' approval ratings in single digits, gridlock in Washington, and disaster ahead. Revolution to follow.

    November 21, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Grow up already...

    What? The "Super committe" failed?!? Shocking! In other news, I dropped a pencil and it fell... DOWN!! Which was almost as predictable as the super committee outcome....

    November 21, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    This was just another way to kick the can down the road. $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years is a farce. We'll still be spending 8-12 TRILLION MORE and borrowing it from China. Not sure we have that much credit limit left on the China Card though.

    November 21, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Roger

    We can thank 9% Boehner and his wrecking crew for this, not Obama. Obstruct! Obstruct! Useless people that need to be voted out of office.

    November 21, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. PA_outofwork

    Today another first; another failure is added to the list:

    FAILURE: today 11-21-2011, Americas debt has exceeded the country’s GDP.

    Here what it takes to fix the debt in our country:
    Repealing every law passed by the last Democratic-controlled congress!
    Repealing every regulation put into place by the Obama administration!
    The one specific Tax Increase:
    If you are a registered Democrat, vote Democratic or donate any money to a Democrat, that’s for Corporation, Union or person, you pay an additional 15% tax on all income, capital gains, money you take in.

    November 21, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. Independent Voter

    I blame the republican because they dont want to tax increase but they want to hurt the poor and middle class.
    Republican can cut medicare and social security but they dont want tax increase.
    Millionaires say tax them so why the republican dont want tax increase.
    Vote Republican out 2012

    November 21, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. tim

    well than... its decided. time to split the country right down the middle

    November 21, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Matthew Kilburn

    The top 1% in this country make about 20% of the income, but pay almost 40% of the income taxes. How can you argue they don't pay their share?

    November 21, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. moderatejoe

    This is a failure of leadership and governance by the President, Speaker and majority leader of the Senate. It is time to vote out the entrenched positions. I'll except tax increases by closing loopholes and subsidies for strong regulatory cut backs and size of government cuts.

    November 21, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Michael

    If the legislative branch cannot act then the executive branch should take some action. Paralysis isn't an option.

    November 21, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. LiberalNN

    Divide and conquer is working well. 4 more years under the current administration and we'll have riots in the streets.

    November 21, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Ed DFWTX

    I have a big problem with the GOP. They want to cut government socialist programs like Social Security and Medicare but don't want defense spending touched. Then, they have the nerve to be against revenue increases from the 1% or big business. They want to put all the burden on the working and middle class. What's wrong with our government today are the uninfromed voters who keep voting against their economic interests by voting for the Repubs. The uninformed middle class supporting the 1%. How crazy is that?

    November 21, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. rpaulwmson

    The Democrats will retake the House next November, as they should, to save this great country-the Republicans want to loot it for the benefit of the rich and powerful.

    November 21, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. Roger Farinha

    This deadlock in our politics is the precise reason why, coming out of the occupy movement, I am attempting to launch a new democratic revival to neutralize this unhealthy American ideological polarization at its very grass-roots level.

    NewAmericanSpring.org

    November 21, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. rukiddinme

    this is ridiculous

    November 21, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. DrDoITT

    This commitee is doing far better job than Obama Bin Biden!!

    November 21, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. mike

    A very sad day................. The entire congress should not get another pay check till they make the cuts.........

    November 21, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. BanjoBob

    We need cuts to the military, we also need to reign in domestic spending. We also need to raise taxes like it or not. both parties need to get over themselves. A responsible politician would roll back the bush tax breaks, close tax loopholes, end subsidies for agriculture, and oil. cut military spending by 5 percent, raise retirement by 2 years. And thats to start.! Everyone needs to MAN UP! Social Security aslo needs to be addressed

    November 21, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. Me

    Matthew Kilburn
    "The top 1% in this country make about 20% of the income, but pay almost 40% of the income taxes. How can you argue they don't pay their share?
    November 21, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |"

    When you add in all other taxes and fees, they pay a much lower percentage of their income in taxes than everybody else. Look at how the payroll tax works for just one example. Income taxes on the upper brackets are the lowest since Eisenhower was president. Don't believe everything you hear on Fox "news."

    November 21, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. JOE

    There seems to be a new Republican craze sweeping the nation and its called "Blame Obama." And the amazing thing about this craze is that its not limited to the President. Just ask First Lady Michelle Obama who was recently booed at a NASCAR event for no justifiable reason whatsoever. This is the first time in US history that a First Lady was booed at a political or non political event. Nevertheless, I'll just try to pray for these people. And by the way, when you people sit down with your love ones this thanksgiving, I just hope you remember to tell your kids that you're most thankful for booing the First Lady.

    November 21, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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