CNN Poll: Partisan divides explain super committee failure
November 21st, 2011
11:56 AM ET
6 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. Scott B

    This shouldn't be a surprise at all. This was expected when the last deal was announced. Honestly, I hope it fails. If it does, the spending cuts (which are "only" $109.3 billion / year) will fall heavily on our defense budget. This is probably the only way we'll ever seen defense cuts. SS and Medicaid will see no reductions and Medicare would only see very slight payment reductions.

    November 21, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. finalturismo

    this is all going to collapse into a global financial system.

    They have to collapse the USD first, thats why they are prepping marital law.

    Same thing thou-out history, people attempt unbelievable things and no one believes it.

    So there is no chance of stopping it.

    November 21, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. sophie

    we want the richest americans to pay there fair share. our older american should not have to pay more for health cost. thats is just crazy. the super committe needs to cut the loop holes for big corportations. republicans candidates that were elected in 2010 took it amoung themselves to attack teachers and firefighters and layed off thousands of public jobs. republican goal in to get rid of president obama. they dont care if people are really struggling.

    November 21, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. Dr. John

    Giving them more revenue will just enable them to continue reckless spending in Washington. We must see cuts and greater efficiency before raising taxes. Reducing deductions and loopholes (especially for true millionaires and large corporations) will create more revenue as would creating more jobs. There needs to be cuts across the board, including military and foreign aid. If they want to increase taxes on people making a million plus, that is fine, but leave the upper middle class alone.

    November 21, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. finalturismo

    you got to love the democrats.

    November 21, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. keczan

    This is so easy, pass a bill that every Congressman and woman hates. Then you know it is the right thing for the country

    November 21, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Muldoon in Ohio

    Most Americans are brainwashed into thinking like cowboys – survival of the fittest, and let everyone else live under a bridge or go to prison. No wonder other nations look down on the US. Political leaders are another story altogether – they're all about enriching themselves and getting re-elected. Taxes in this country (even on the rich) is a four-letter word for politicians which is the kiss-of-death for their careers, especially if they are republican. Thus, the mexican standoff. Worst Congress Ever? YOU BET.

    November 21, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. JohnP

    Do what they would do to me if I didn't do my job, Fire them all and but new ones in all it take is everyone to VOTE

    November 21, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Behaving Like Kids

    Both sides are wrong. I'm a republican, but I don' think ANYTHING should be off the table. If this decision is so important (which it is), why would democrats hold it up over a 10-20% item like taxes. They should just concede to get it done. On the same token, why would republicans protect such a small group of people. Raise taxes SOMEWHAT on these people and find money other places. Seems like this is too important of an issue for EITHER side to dig in and both should find options.

    November 21, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. saltypeeter

    This can result in only one thing: CIVIL WAR!

    November 21, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. grizzly

    Stop paychecks to all Senators and Gongressmen immediatley. We do not need them,. they are not contributing to America. Let's get ridd of them with some lazed Egg Nogg!

    November 21, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. Dr. John

    When speaking about cuts, they are talking about cutting projected increases, not cuts from current spending levels. Rand paul explained this nicely on CNN yesterday. If they froze federal spending for 1-3yrs, it would make a major difference. Raising taxes does not address the rapidly increasing spending. The whole tax system needs to be reformed too, and that should be next but cuts across the board (or freezing spending and federal pay) and greater efficiency need to be front and center right now.

    November 21, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. Howard

    obama has spent three years, using class warfare, and other divisive methods to polarize Americans. Now, thanks to obama, our country is in turmoil.

    November 21, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. CanadaOne

    It is a SAD DAY

    What have you become America?
    You are cutting services to the most vulnerable people in your country.
    You are protecting the rich and the insiders at the expense of the less fortunate
    You are promoting social exclusion similar to the rebellions going on in other countries
    People dieing in the street – it starts with pepper spray and leads to guns!

    America look in the mirror – you are not a democratic country you are run by the rich – which is fine but not at the expense of the majority.

    Your political system does not work.
    You cannot compromise

    You are disgrace to true democracy


    November 21, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. Joel

    Reason for the split is only Half work and less pay taxes . I would vote for the free ride too ! NOT

    November 21, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. Republicans are not for middle class

    And the Tea Baggers thought they would amount to something after the midterm election.....hahahahaha what a joke. The right wing radical group that makes vows to special interest groups is now water logged

    November 21, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. tired of the GOP nonsense

    Two thirds of the American public support higher taxes on higher income Americans and business. The GOP refuses to budge on this (the Toomey proposal was a tax cut in disguise). It's pretty clear the committee was designed to fail from the start. We can all thank Mitch McConnell for this follow on debacle to the debt ceiling debacle from last summer.

    We need a combination of cuts and tax increases. The changes need to be gradual enough to allow the people who lose their jobs as a result of the cuts can find other work. For you wingnuts out there who don't think cuts cause layoffs in the private sector.......remember the term "Government contractor."

    November 21, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. Ed DFWTX

    We have the Democrats and Grover Norquist both holding firm. One supports the American People and the other one supports the 1% and big business. Hey Grover: Where does your group get their money from? The American People would like to know. Thats OK, you don't have to tell. Everyone knows its funded by the 1% and big corporations.

    November 21, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. jt_flyer

    I read all these posts of anger and hollow warnings but the truth is that if you think any one of this human ballast we call congress has the slightest bit of concern that they'll be voted out of office because if this mess you're naive. The'll parade it like a badge of honor and use it as part of their reelection campaign. You see the American public -those who vote as much as those who do not- are nothing more than foolish sheep – including myself.

    November 21, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. Voltairine

    Big business, big money, and their most argent minions, the GOP, don’t believe that we the people have the guts for revolution and civil war; they think us lazy cowards. In fact they’re so confident of this that they’ve been literally betting all of their vast wealth and everybody’s lives, including their own, in a bloodbath that defies historical record, just to shield a mere fraction of their gargantuan mountains of loot. That’s how certain they are that the American people, the worlds’ most celebrated rebels, who they turned into their, “human resources”, will just keep rolling-over for them.

    November 21, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Russell G.

    The GOP is putting a noose around their own necks by this insistance against additional taxes...SO BE IT!!!!

    November 21, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. v_mag

    @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?"

    An excellent question. You have to first open your mind to the idea that you've been duped. Look at what the rich are keeping, not what they are paying. If a guy "earns" $10M each year, it shouldn't matter to him if he has to pay $1M in taxes. For Christ's sakes, HE'S GOING HOME WITH NINE MILLION DOLLARS!

    There's not a 99%er in the country who wouldn't trade places with him, even for just 1 year. Or half a year, or a month. The rich guy has you fooled into thinking he's being taken advantage of. He ain't. He's making out like a bandit! If he took home $1M, he would still be so much better off than anybody in the 99%. And how do you think he "earned" that money? Working by the hour, maybe? NO! He used all those facilities provided by taxpayers and all those guys working for minimum wage to line his pockets.

    Don't ever feel sorry for the rich. They didn't "earn" your sympathy.

    November 21, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Doug P

    It is time to start an Occupy Washington movement. Since the elected officials from BOTH parties have shown that they are incapable of doing their jobs, they all should be thrown out. Absolutely no one should be re-elected to either house or the White House. Lets start over with only independent candidates. If they have declared for a political party, we should deem them ineligible for office. Lets get the political parties out of our government. It is obviously not working anymore. Candidates should represent ONLY their respective districts and not a national agenda. It is time for US to be represented again!

    November 21, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. Fair is Fair


    So split the county up red and blue. The south and midwest will be a country and the West/northwest and northeast can be another country. If you don't like the politics in your area move to the other country.
    Yep – that worked out well for Korea and Viet Nam.

    What a shame to think that's what this once great countery is coming to.

    November 21, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. Joy

    Let's raise taxes so we can continue to be 'patriots' and support all the great government programs only the government knows how to run so well...

    Social Security
    Cash for Clunkers
    War on Drugs

    Government so fat it can't see its own toes. Inefficiency piled upon inefficiency. A disaster in the making.

    November 21, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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