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. cobra

    I wish I could find and talk to just one intelligent democrat, they are extinct as the wool mammoth. There are so few that are not sucking the government teat that they won't let any types of cuts take place and of course that might ruin their voter base.

    November 21, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. troy

    Doesn't it bother the Republicans that only 15% of America approves of them? Or better yet, 75% of Americans disapprove of them?

    November 21, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. MeyeK

    It's amazing that a member of a "deficit reduction committee" comes up with a plan to increase revenue, but only suggests it with an attached reduction in revenue. If the proposals to increase revenue are reasonable, why can't they be done by themselves – without trying to slide through an attachment that worsens the deficit problem?

    When someone can't pay his/her bills, isn't the logical approach to work overtime, take a second job (increase revenue) AND reduce expenses?

    November 21, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. gsperson

    The truly amazing stat here is that 57% of dems don't favor spending cuts! Greece here we come.

    November 21, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. NoGr8rH8r

    HERE'S a LIST OF LOSERS to GET RID OF FIRST!:
    Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas (Republican and committee co-chair)
    Sen. Patty Murray of Washington (Democrat and committee co-chair)
    Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland (Democrat)
    Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona (Republican)
    Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts (Democrat)
    Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania (Republican)
    Sen. Max Baucus of Montana (Democrat)
    Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio (Republican)
    Rep. Xavier Becerra of California (Democrat)
    Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan (Republican)
    Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina (Democrat)
    Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan (Republican)

    November 21, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. Carl J.

    Do you need any more proof that all 535 members of Congress...... Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike have ALL been totally bought off and controlled by lobbyist money and special interest group money??? That can be the ONLY reason Congress is unwilling to make cuts...... they have 15,000 lobbyists in Washington DC totally pulling their puppet strings.

    November 21, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. disgrace to america

    a failed obama must be removed from office before there can be any real debt deal or he will just go back to his disgraceful spending...

    November 21, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. AnneSD

    There is no magic here. Fixing this requires BOTH tax increases and spending cuts. Unfortunately, we don't have any government representatives with the guts to actually govern. Politicians in both parties are solely in the business of getting elected, not in responsible governance of this country.

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

    John
    "Democrats ruining America since 2007 ! No GOP hands involved. The biggest deficit since 1945 of ANY PRESIDENT in 2009 AND 2010 AND NOW 2011.... That is bigger than ANY ANY ANY president."

    Two unfunded wars and unregulated investment banking had nothing to do with the current mess? Saying either side is guiltless is just willful ignorance.

    November 21, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. THE LONE OKIE

    Let the cuts take efffect, take Defense back to 1940's level. The Dept. of Defense is the worlds largest employer (lay-offs should help economy) for reasons that are unknown to the average persons. Kick grandma into the streets.

    November 21, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. dick

    Obama will lose in the largest landslide in history and take most of the libs with him. Watch!

    November 21, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. demogoat

    I think most democrats support both cuts and tax increases. But the republicans only want to cut.

    November 21, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. Jeff--Tacoma WA

    Why don't we just do this.

    Do away with the Bush Tax cuts. And cut all Government spending by 10% across the board.

    November 21, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. greg

    Democrats have made clear they are ok with major spending cuts-as long as there is some tax increases to balance the load. Spending cuts tend to hit the middle and lower classes. Tax increases is a way to impact wealthier Americans as well. All for One...long range tax reform should be on the table. I think the Corporate rate of 35% is too high (25% a better number) but have to be balanced by going after income stripping protected by treaties, income kept outside the country (which would not be as big a problem with the lower rate), eliminating some credits, whatever additional reforms are needed to make the reduction revenue neutral.

    November 21, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. Garrafon

    The debt ceiling solution, including the so-called super committee and the automatic spending cuts was a fraud on the American people. The super committee has failed and there already is talk about undoing the automatic cuts.
    The American people have watched failure after failure by its leaders. We can no longer afford to do nothing while they dismantle the future of this nation. The Association to Reduce the National Debt is uniting Americans to make our voices heard and demand real solutions. Find the Association to Reduce the National Debt on the web or facebook, like them, donate, spread the word...BE PART OF THE SOLUTION TO SAVING OUR NATION!

    November 21, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. Greg

    I propose that all workers change their witholding to 10 or more exemptions. This will reduce the amount of money going to the fed every other week. With no steady influx of money maybe they will stop and listen to the american people. At the end of the year you can pay the taxes with a check.

    November 21, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. paul

    Let's start firing some of these bought out politicians and making people accountable again. We need to have eco-friendly politicians!
    Let's hold their feet to the fire as they say. Let's stop looking at the occupy protesters like they have nothing to be mad about. THIS is what everyone is mad about.

    November 21, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. Gordon Black

    Stop believing the liberal lie!

    November 21, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. James

    Democrats need to stand strong and tax everyone who is making money in the private sector so we all can have good paying government jobs with lots of vacation and perks. The bottom line is that people who come up with innovative ideas for companies like Microsoft, Google, Exxon, Apple, etc – need to be taxed at a very high rate because the money they made is not their money, it is OUR Money!!! Occupy!!!! Socialism will work in the United States and our president will get us there.

    November 21, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. greg

    The current mess of the economy was caused by Bush and the GOP Congress. Obama has been stuck with cleaning up their horrific mess. And the GOP has done nothing but hope for the US to be ruined so they can claw back into power. The GOP has become the worst sort of party ever imagined by George Washington.

    November 21, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Matt

    You all wanted a librel running things... This is what you get. As long as we have people in power from opposite ends of the pole (far far left and right). Tehn nothing is going to get done. VOTE THEM ALL OUT. Find Rep's in the CENTER.

    November 21, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. Libtard

    Let's just blame Bush! Oh wait it has been 3 plus years and look at all of the success by Obama. Gas prices average $3.65 compared to$1.79 since election,food stamp receipients up almost 40%, unemployment is over 9%, number of people livng in poverty increased and national debt is up 35%. Atleast we are investing wisely in going green?

    November 21, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. basketcase

    So the majority of Americans support both tax increases on the wealthy and spending cuts. Not sure how this is a partisan divide.

    November 21, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    We need a lobbyist who will represent us in the name of decreasing the national deficit. Seems like today's congress can't make a decision unless someone is lining their pocket or contributing to their campaign. Where are all of the great leaders who do the right thing and make decisions based on how it will benefit the country?

    November 21, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. PaulC

    It certainly looks like the Repugs are going to keep the economy stalled until the election where they hope to gain control of the Senate and the White House as they complete the destruction of the middle class, eviscerate social security, medicare and medicaid. I hope you have asubstantial savings account.

    November 21, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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