CNN Poll: Partisan divides explain super committee failure
November 21st, 2011
11:56 AM ET
3 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. Dooz Owings

    I'm not split... These clowns were paid to do a job and even got an extension.... Seems simple to me, they need to resign due to failure to perform ... Sounds simple to me... If you did this in the real world do you think your boss would think twice about letting you go... People forget, WE are their boss.... These guys got to go.... Not a big mystery...

    Failure To Perform , can't cut it any other way...

    November 21, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. quacknduck

    It makes no difference what public opinion is, it was not our job to manage, it was the job of the elected employees and they have refused to do it. But for them its a successful outcome. They see their job is to get elected and then to get reelected. What we see as problems they see as issues to be maintained, nurtured and grown to be used as atool to polarize voters in their gerrymandered districts.

    What makes this issue so good for them is that their investment managers can short the market and they can personally and directly benefit from their actions..
    Elected employees will keep this issue going through the election.

    November 21, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. justme49

    a blindman could have seen that this was going to fail. And both parties do what they do best point fingers at each other totally amazing. Stay tuned for the 2nd credit rating drop next month

    November 21, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. WHATNEXT

    How absolutely shocking – What person in the USA with even the slightest intelligence would have believed that the super committee would reach an agreement. We are our worst enemy – we elect and re-elect people who are way ovre thier heads in skill and capability. Clearly, we need to clean house this next election. I don't think we could do any worse than the crop of polar politician in office today. We are a sick nation!

    November 21, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. kah

    We need to elect all Independents next election and see if they will work for the country and do some comprmising. We need someone who will work for our country rather than their political party.

    November 21, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. dowdotica

    gat tax rates back to before bush! also get rid of tax loopholes for the rich as well as the poor. put a limit on all deductions. inact a trading transaction fee in repsect to stock trade. inact a national 1% sales tax. deprivatize the prison systems and quit giving criminals a better way of life then that of the minimum wage working stiff!! cut food stamp handouts by 25%, if they want the 25% back have them go out and scrape bubble gum off the sidewalks. I WANT TO VOMIT WHEN I WALK OF THE GROCERY STORE AND SEE A "WIC" MOM DRIVE AWAY IN A HUMMER OR A CAR A WHOLE LOT MORE EXPENSIVE THEN MINE! I'M ALSO SICK OF THE SHEATERS THAT CHEAT ON THIER SCHEDULE C AND E. lastly? uh what say we get 8,000,000 jobs back and get some of the unemployed back to work! and before any body bad mouths my rant make sure you get your calculator out and do the math. I did! thats what I do...uh...tax compliance...

    November 21, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. conoclast

    The "supercommittee" has failed. Gee, what a surprise, huh? They couldn't negotiate past Grover Norquist's line-in-the-sand and now they can't even negotiate what kind of spin to put on telling the American people about that failure. How much more evidence do we need that the bought-and-paid-for "government" in Washington is an utter waste of time? Disenfranchisement is now the sad reality for working America; the sooner we recognize that fact and embrace the revolutionary option the sooner we'll have a chance of righting our sinking ship-of-state! This is either the 'beginning of the beginning' like the OWS folks yell in our ears - or it's the beginning of The End; take your pick America!

    November 21, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. jokedoctor

    The super committee is a a punchline now isn't it? It was a joke from the beginning because the super committee set themselves up to fail when they said the goal was to "cut 1.2 trillion" from the deficit rather than find solutions to cut the deficit. You can't say find ways to "cut" 1.2 trillion and in the same sentence say that all options are on the table, because the mission statement is only to "cut." Have any of these guys run a business? You look at all solutions including raising revenue.

    In a nutshell, Dale Carnegie and Tony Robbins say that "if you want to succeed at anything, you find someone who has been successful at it and you copy them." The ONLY president ever to eliminate the deficit and take this country into a surplus situation is Clinton. Copy him and stop wasting our time!

    November 21, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Newbdogg

    The tax system will be broken until there's a flat tax or a fair tax where everyone pays the same. This 900B dollar "defense" budget needs to go away. Maybe make it 150 billion, start by cutting out these bombs that are a billion dollars each.

    November 21, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. Ross

    The President should now do what he should have done much, much earlier, endorse the Bowles-Simpson Plan and send it to Congress.
    Ross

    November 21, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. Beam me up scotty

    Watched Sunday morning talking heads, and Kerry said dems put everything on the table. I believe him.
    Republicans want Obama out and they are willing to sacrifice America to do it.

    November 21, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  12. Fed up in America

    Where is the leadership in all of this? Why did Obama punt on this one? Obama isn't a good democrat and he sure isn't doing the job he promised to do. This country has become so dysfunctional and it begins with the leadership. The president is ultimately responsible for this mess. This may have started 30 years ago, but our Government should never have been allowed to "borrow". We pay alot of taxes and we trusted those in charge to be responsible and ACCOUNTABLE for each and every dollar.

    November 21, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Leddy said: "This was Obama's goal from the start ". No Leddy!!! President Obama wanted the Big Plan put into place. You would know that if you were not glued to faux news. This was the GOP plan all along, exactly as their leader ship stated it was " crash the enconomy" at all cost in a sick, misdirected effort to derail the greatest American President in recent history from a second term in office. As the historian no doupt will view it, President Obvama will overcome the clearly defined "evil ones" and in 2012 this "do nothing" Congress will be swept aside and a new Congress will be elected that will pull America out of its darkest days propelling President Obvama to be views as "great" by historians. .

    November 21, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. The 800 lbs gorilla in the room

    We Americans are as about blind and stupid as they come. Its not a democrat or republican issue. The 800 lbs gorilla in the room is how politicians on all sides get their campaign finance money. You can vote them all out but the system will stay the same. The more money you have the more influence you have in DC. Its not just corporations, its Green Peace, its AARP, its NRA its any lobby group that has millions to burn to get what they want... Until you make this legal bribery illegal, absolutely nothing will change.... We all have the right to lobby and that right should never be taken away. But bribery is bribery and that's exactly what lobbyists in DC are doing. If we don't change this, your vote will continue to only matter for that 30 seconds you are in the voting booth.

    November 21, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. douglasr

    How shocking. Now they can keep stealing from the taxpayer. But they can blame Obama for teir incompetence and keep their jobs.

    November 21, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Tony

    ONE more thought on all of this. For you liberal democrats – raising taxes on just the RICH will make a difference of less than 1%!!! This class warfare DEMS have been blowing for the last several months is BS !!! This is their excuse to get votes from the middle and lower class. You think it is bad now, if they don't CUT the deficit in the next 18 months. This country will fall into 3rd world status. You will not be able to touch loan money at less than 10%.

    November 21, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. GaryB

    The budget impasse is yet another example of how Republicans have a fundamental misunderstanding of how business works. There's a good reason why the Bush taxs for the wealthiest Americans and the many loopholes used to help corporations avoid paying taxes haven't helped unemployment, despite record profitability by many corporations. Businesses hire when they think they can make more money by hiring more people. Period. They don't hire just because they have extra money sitting around. By the same token, a business that is slightly less profitable due to slightly hire taxes won't layoff employees if those employees are necessary.

    November 21, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    We have the government we deserve ... we have no one to blame but ourselves. And to John (1:53pm), what are you talking about? What partisan crap you spew ... we have the biggest deficits because we have the biggest recession! My question is why did we run up record deficits during "boom" times under Bush? The Dems haven't solved our problems, but the Repubs have banked on making them worse for political gain ... remember what Mitch McConnell said: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president ... Our single biggest political goal is to give our nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful". That tells you what the Repubs are committed to ... themselves ... not working and compromising to solve problems and put the country on a better path.

    November 21, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. SoldierOfFortunes

    US is it's Own Worst Enemy in Washington DC...

    November 21, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. Rick

    So we take in 2.5 Trillion and we spend 3.7 Trillion, maybe it's a spending problem. Lets get some money from those who don't pay and see if that helps,...I'm just saying

    November 21, 2011 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Blame

    I find it really amazing that everyone goes back and fourth blaming the other. It's the crazy Dems fault, no it is the loony Rights fault. Could it be that it is both of their faults? Could it be that all of them have this impression that we work for them? Our government is broken on most fronts... left and right. If you are one of those folks blaming the other side, then you might want to take a good long hard look in the mirror. I think when you start looking at things rationally you will find that both sides are wrong, and neither are working very hard to make it right. We need term limits and we need to get rid of lobbyists. We need to close the tax loopholes, and need to cut out frivolous spending.

    November 21, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Tracy

    If you make over 300,000 dollars a year...Just pay the percentage you did in the 90's again... You had a good run. Now your country needs you. The poorest of the poor gave up their sons and daughters lives to fight 2 wars that we were told were necessary. I am telling you now... That extra 3 and a quarter percent on your 300,000 dollars plus a year is necessary... Is it really a bigger sacrifice than others have made in the name of "America's interests?"

    November 21, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. John

    The media should make it clear that returning the bush tax cuts to its former rates is not a tax hike. They should also make it clear that Grover Norquist and his multi million dollar organization that is monetarily backed by the Koch brothers is the one that is holding republicans in this country hostage in participating in a bipartisan solution to balance our budget with his "Pledge". The pledge not to raise any form of tax even if the country goes down the drain. I suggest you do some research regarding what I have just stated here to find out about the truth. Why are the republicans arrogant and unafraid to be voted out in the elections despite their unpopular stance against the majority of americans? Check out "Gerrymandering" and redistricting votes in their respective states. They are still going to win the elections in 2012 even if you vote against them. Don't give up. Be involved no matter how small your initiative may be. The will of the people will always prevail because we are americans.

    November 21, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. Loathstheright

    Half the country is intelligent, thoughtful, patriotic and cares for their fellow Americans and believe in equal rights for all...and the other half are lowIQ Anti-american barbarians filled with hate for gays, women, minorities, single mothers, the poor and the crippled and sick, who see greed and selfishness as a positive value, they spout "family values" and yet have none.
    You can be on the Liberal side or the Conservative side, I will take the Liberal side everytime.

    November 21, 2011 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. Leslie

    I don't believe that Americans are split on taxing the millionaires, I think the politicians and the media wants you to think we are split.

    November 21, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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