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. John

    I know the American People are Paying the People we have In the Senate and Congress. The Republican Leadership really is bad. We should Cut there Pay In half and make them pay a lease a1/4 of there heath care like most American People. If we did this maybe there would start acting like they really care about this Country. If we cut there pay In half they would till make more than most American People. And this would save Billions of dollars right there. And when you leave Senate and Congress so does your pay. The Only way to get a Pension you have to be there twenty years or more just like the rest of us. The Trouble If America right now Is these People In the Senate and Congress have It to easy. They get pay way to much for the jobs they do and they have way to many days off a years and they get free hearth care.

    November 21, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. the_dude

    Those dumb republicans can't make any decisions and ruin the country. That is why we the people wanted reform by electing a democrat president and electing a democrat majority in congress and the house.....so the democrats can get things done......uhhhh.....wait.....what???

    November 21, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. Allen G

    News Year's Resolution: Make sure Democrats take back the House, keep the Senate and the Presidency, and get the government working again.

    November 21, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. So stupid

    This is ridiculous. People need to come together and make a decision for the greater good of ALL AMERICANS. These guys are just as corrupt as Gordon Gekko trying to make a quick buck and have no spine. How we not come up with a solution with a SUPER COMMITTEE. Your performance review is in and you guys on capital hill are fired. No pay for poor performance. We as citizens own this government for the people by the people we need to start acting like it.

    November 21, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. Dan Green

    Roosevelt must be elated. We have reached a pinnacle in party affiliation. The two idologies are firmly in place along strict party lines. The good of the nation is secondary. All we can do is get rid of these congressional folks when the elections become available.

    November 21, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. rookwood

    I can't believe that again the USA may face a downgrade by the rating agencies due largely by the inability of Congress to act like adults/business people which was exactly what each voting American person thought they sent them to Washington to act like in the first place.

    There is absolutely no reason for them not to reach some sort of agreement on a lerge (2+trillion) reduction within the next 24 hours. Even if the GOP wins the Congress and the Presidency (which is likely), they can at a later date roll back on any parts they don't like. Why not get a major large reduction package passed/started. We need a $4 trillioin package started like yesterday-24 months ago would have been even nicer.

    If anything!. This should be a call for term limits on everyone in Washington!!!! When are the American people going to wake up?.

    November 21, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. TomFoolery

    2bits is another economic illiterate demanding more tax on "businesses," failing profoundly to comprehend that such taxes are all borne by the consumer, and are a regressive tax on the common man. He/she thinks the proposal is to tax OTHER PEOPLE, presumably the filthy rich, but in reality it is a tax on everyone, including 2bits.

    November 21, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. john

    The full congress could not come up with a solution and now the super committee has fail. What we need is statesmen that care about the country. The day of the statesman is dead. At one time in this country we had men who had opposite point of view on something, but went the extra mile to compromise for the good of the people. It seems as each member of congress has a personal agenda. I am concerned about this non profit group that over 250 congressmen have signed a pledge to not raise taxes and the leader and donations to this group threaten to put enough money against any member of congress that crosses the path of this Tax payers group. No one knows who t has made donations and is backing this group of people who are blackmailing many members of congress. I am sure the Koch brothers are heavy donors. All the special committee needed to do was follow the footsteps of Regan and cut deductions for corporations and very wealth Americans. The next thing they need to do was to cut spending in military and take a long look at the large middle management group in every department of government.

    November 21, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. cronewinter

    When a senator makes a vow to even refuse to consider increasing revenue, s/he makes a vow to put party first and leave the nation to dangle. When any public servant refuses to serve the nation because they have vowed to make it a priority to "make Obama a one term president" they need to be removed. No matter what our political end goals are and even though we may see different routes to our goals,..they must first and foremost be "put the well-being of the nation at the number one spot". That is not done by focusing on dictating morality, worrying about motto's or making vows to be obstructive for religious and cooperate reasons. The country is in deep trouble..we need to focus on fixing the problems.

    November 21, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. StXavier

    All the comments I've read here to day is sad, there is a sickness in our government it's called SELFISHNESS ( a wanting all for me my self an I ).

    November 21, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. jimmagellan

    Let's vote everyone in Washington out of office and start over – can't get any worse than it is now!

    November 21, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. CM

    Isn't this the very definition of undemocratic? Most people want tax increases and debt reduction, yet congress can't act. This system is clearly broken when the will of the people is so blatantly ignored.

    November 21, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. Jimbo

    Will raising taxes on corporations have an impact on me recieving any raises? Our company has been on a salary freeze for the last 3 years, I need a raise and I don't see taxing my company more helping that cause. I am by no means a weathly individual either, so please explain to me how raising taxes on my corporation is helping the little guy?

    November 21, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Eddie

    When your revenue stream dries up, as on account of offshoring our jobs, then you can't pay your bills. Seems simple enough, yet some can't grasp it.

    Some will read this and say "Yeah, but...!" There are no yeah buts. No jobs = no money.

    November 21, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. merritr

    I'm with you, p. I was going to post the exact same thing. Why did the Union want the Confederate states to stay anyway?

    November 21, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. Kris Craig

    Dems came into this committee fully willing to compromise by cutting programs they didn't want to be cut. Republicans, on the other hand, refused to meet them halfway, stubbornly saying that any revenue– even just allowing the ill-conceived tax breaks for othe wealthy top 1%– was not even open to discussion, despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans supports the idea.

    Of course, the Republicans will find a way to blame this failure on President Obama somehow, just like they blame him for the economic recession that they themselves created before he even took office....

    November 21, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. Lee Van Cleef

    someone should go down there and clunk all their heads together like Moe from the Three Stooges.

    November 21, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. Paul

    FINALLY, the GOP will pay – big time – come election time. Democrats have negotiated way past good faith and given up more than I would have liked, leaving the fat cats completely untouched. Republicans have finally overplayed their hand.

    November 21, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. AceRyder

    Yes, let's increase business taxes so that the businesses which can't afford to do business in the US will be guaranteed to not be able to ever again and maybe the few that are left with US jobs will go away as well.

    You can't bleed the economy dry to feed the insatiable government.

    November 21, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. Steve Watson

    With over 40% of registered votes being independents", it's about time that Rep-ocrates realized that they work for ALL OF US and not just their little extremist group.

    November 21, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  21. Daddy2010

    The only poll that counts is that 100% of American agree that the super committee sucks donkey balls (to borrow a phrase from my manager).

    November 21, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  22. mklsgl

    Capitalism causes that divisive, Us vs. Them mentality. Go greed! Screw my struggling neighbors, I want it all for myself.

    November 21, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. AceRyder

    Unfortunately, there are only realists and dreamers in this debate. The dreamers think we can raise revenues to support this out of control spending. The realists realize that you can't bring jobs back with taxes, you can't grow government forever, and you can't have cheap goods made in America.

    November 21, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  24. Rick

    Instead of cutting services to the people ( Social Security and medicare) , why doesn't the government do a reorganization, Companies do it all the time. Do we really need al the government reps that we have.

    November 21, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  25. DivideByZero

    How come so few people talk about the programs that actually need to be cut? The few programs that will not be touched by the 1.2 trillion dollar automatic cut are the very ones that SHOULD be cut. I am 38 now, and fully expect there to be no money left in social security well before I am eligible. Once that money runs out, it means Social Security can only pay out as much as it is taking in by the current workforce. (Somewhere around 50 or 60% of the current benefit.)
    I personally don't want to have to work till 67, but I would rather that and collect a full benefit than never be able to retire at all. How many of you could retire on half of what social security pays now?
    Our useless pols need to wakeup, ditch the right wing extremists in the Tea party, and the far left losers running the Democrats.
    I can deal with higher taxes and cuts in services if I know it is actually helping to secure this country for the next generation- all I see is more of the same crap I have been seeing since I was in elementary school, and learned was a Congress and President of the United States. My parent's generation didn't fix it, and it looks like ours won't either.

    November 21, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
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