Polls show Obama has more public support in fiscal cliff talks
December 12th, 2012
10:19 AM ET
1 year ago

Polls show Obama has more public support in fiscal cliff talks

(CNN) - As President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner hash out a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, new polls indicate the president has more support from the American public than his political opponent.

Nearly half of Americans-49%–say they approve of Obama's handling of the negotiations, while a quarter say Boehner is doing a good job, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday.

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At the same time, 42% say they disapprove of the president's performance, compared to 49% who disapprove of Boehner's role in the talks.

The White House and Congress are in the midst of a pressing, end-of-the year deadline to find a deficit-reduction deal before a large amount of tax increases and spending cuts kick in at the start of next year. The sum could make a significant dent on the economy, with some experts predicting another recession as a result.

Officials familiar with the deal confirmed Tuesday that the two men had spoken over the phone following a new counter-offer proposed by the GOP that same day. The new offer came one day after the White House gave its own new proposal, which included a new revenue number of $1.4 trillion, down from the $1.6 trillion that the Obama administration originally proposed.

The president has adopted a public strategy that includes making campaign-style stops to sell his proposal to the American people. That's in addition to holding meetings with business and labor leaders, a tactical move to build pressure on Congress through the public.

According to the poll, Obama seems to have more support from his own party than Boehner does from the GOP. Eighty percent of Democrats approve of the president, while only 38% feel the same way about Boehner.

Meanwhile, a new Bloomberg National Poll indicates that nearly two-thirds of the public, including nearly 50% of Republicans, think that because Obama recently won re-election, he has a mandate to oversee certain provisions during his second term, including an increase in tax rates for the very wealthy. The poll lines up with other surveys out this month that indicated the same feeling among a majority of Americans.

Sixty-five percent say Obama should raise rates for households making more than $250,000 a year, and nearly as many people-64%–say the president's re-election means he should protect Social Security from major budget cuts. Sixty-two percent of Americans say he also has a mandate to protect Medicare from fundamental change.

However, Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged the president Tuesday to name serious cuts to entitlement programs, saying true deficit reduction will mostly come through slashing the budget.

A third poll shows that six in 10 Americans think the major elements of the fiscal cliff would have a negative impact on the country. If Congress fails to pass a deal, a strong majority of Americans say that the resulting tax increases would have a bad effect on the economy, according to the Gallup survey released Tuesday.

Sixty-nine percent say the automatic spending cuts that will trigger at the beginning of the year say they will be harmful, while 64% say major cuts in defense spending will have a negative impact.

For the ABC News/Washington Post poll, 1,018 of adults were interviewed by telephone from December 5 through December 9. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

In the Bloomberg National Poll, 1,000 adults were interviewed by telephone from December 7 through December 10, with a sampling error of plus of minus 3.1 percentage points.

For the Gallup survey, 1,069 adults were questioned by telephone from December 8 through December 9, with a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.


Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • John Boehner • Polls
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. FiscalResponsible

    American liberal Medias are doing everything in their power to put lipstick on a pig and make Obama’s NOT accountable for Fiscal Cliff.

    December 12, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. rs

    This is a no-brainer, he's working for the benefit of all Americans unlike the Taliban-like GOP.

    December 12, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. rs

    FiscalResponsible-
    He isn't- that's a fact. The bill behind the so-called "fiscal cliff" came out of the GOP controlled House the LAST time they threw a hissy fit and held the economy hostage. It's only the cretans on FOX and the Right-wingers that are trying to re-write that history.

    December 12, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  4. NVa Native

    Obama is doing a great job highlighting all the damage the GOP/ teehadists have done and want to do to our country. Keep up the great work Mr President.

    December 12, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. alien

    Where were these people who clammer about fiscal responsability, when bush and cheney were waxing the american taxpayers out of trillions of tax dollars, HUH!!!WHERE WERE THEY!!??

    December 12, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. Sandy

    Right wingers were running ads about Obama's handling of the fiscal cliff. I did say that was stupid because no one believes them after all the lies they told during the election.

    December 12, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Sixty-five percent say Obama should raise rates for households making more than $250,000 a year, and nearly as many people-64%–say the president's re-election means he should protect Social Security from major budget cuts. Sixty-two percent of Americans say he also has a mandate to protect Medicare from fundamental change."

    Sounds like a voter approved mandate afterall.

    "However, Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged the president Tuesday to name serious cuts to entitlement programs, saying true deficit reduction will mostly come through slashing the budget."

    Guess the voters finally are beginning to catch on to the McConnell / Boehner theatrical meme of pushing the can down the road for the other guy to clean up. THEY demand ... and then become the cowards they are when their demands aren't taking seriously. Wants cuts, McConnell ... then try owning up to what YOU want by standing by your demands long enough to explain to all Americans (not just your Red State stoogies) what those cuts should be and who you want to be most affected: i.e. drastic cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

    December 12, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. NVa Native

    And the up coming debt ceiling deadline is another instance when Americans acknowledge paying for our existing debt will be another opportunity for the President to expose the GOP/teehadist’s anti-American tactics of “party & power first” terrorism.

    December 12, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. MEme ME

    LIke most Americans that voted for Obama I am fine with all entitlements that help me if I can get the rich to pay for it. It beats the heck out me having to work for it.

    December 12, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There need to rate increases on the wealthy. There need to be reforms to the social welfare programs like Social Security as well. There can't be the continued low rates that the wealthy are paying. Remember that Alan Greenspan is all for tax cuts as long as they are paid for. Given the amount of debt that we have, there will not be a chance for those in a good long time.

    As to Boehner and McConnell asking for specifics in cuts, that is silly since they haven't detailed the deductions that they plan on cutting. It is time to show the cards gentlemen.

    December 12, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Darryl

    Hey CNN, Did you guys know we just had an election ? LOL..... Suprise, suprise ! You guys are just as stupid as Fox. The majority of the country agrees with the POTUS on his vision and everything else he wants to do. The republicans and the BIG Corporations, " Like yourselfs " LOL.... are going to pay HIGHER taxes on way or the other. I'm sure you guys at CNN really don't like President Obamas politics eighter but too bad guys, like it or not ? Your screwed on greed just like the Wallstreet goons and the Romney rip-offs !

    December 12, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  12. judy

    the public is just getting sick and tired of the repos saying the same crap over and over again. This is not a theater get something done. Sorry you don't like the president that the majority of us voted for. get over it and work for the people.

    December 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Data Driven

    @alien

    Democratic Black Guy wasn't President; therefore, "deficits don't matter", as Dick Cheney said in 2002.

    December 12, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    When polls don't favor Republicans, nowadays they just simply chalk it up as a messaging problem. I find such an overbearing arrogant attitude to be most appalling. To not even consider the possibility that you could be wrong on something is pure ignorance personified.

    "People who think they know everything are ignorant of eveything else." - Rudy NYC

    December 12, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. FiscalResponsible

    Compassionate Conservative President Bush was a Liberator. He liberated People of Afghanistan and Iraq from Dictator. Now Change and Forward President Obama is a Debtator. He has indebted People of America with $6 Trillion in Debt last four years alone.

    December 12, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    It still baffles me that the media fails to report that democrats have already agreed to a trillion dollars in cuts. Why isn't this fact emphasized more? We've given a little, and now it's time for the republicans to give a little. That's how compromise works.

    December 12, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  17. ghost

    Polls nor deficits matter to republicans, i wager.

    For all those screaming about liberals, what about Tom Coburn?

    December 12, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  18. rs

    MEme ME-
    You're kidding right? Because if you've worked at all you've paid for these "entitlements" as well.

    December 12, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. Sam

    What a joke Politicians have become, in a nutshell its even money on which party is more pathedic. A leader who cant lead and a house and senate who obviously cant read.

    December 12, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  20. plain&simple

    When politicians are on the losing end of anything they squirm and squeal and delay and avoid any decision that has to be made contrary to their ideology. We need realistic,practical minds making these tough choices. The agenda driven ideology of the extreme right or left has to be isolated and made identifiable to the masses so our system can have clear choices in every election cycle. The more the voting public knows and the more voters who participate,the better our system works. It's a fact.

    December 12, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. wjmccartan

    Stay the course Mr. President.

    December 12, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. AK_steve

    It's ironic that when George W won re-election he continued to spend wildly and cut taxes which ended up crushing our economy. And when Obama wins re-election the GOP try to prevent him from fixing it.

    The GOP destroys the economy but can't let the Dems fix it in fear that they (the GOP) will look bad. I hate to tell you GOP but you haven't looked good for 12 years and are only looking worse.

    December 12, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. Rick McDoomsday

    hah like we are supposed to believe this.....Obama's plan to take the power from the wealthy where it belongs and give it to the middle and lower class is just the start of his plan at total dictatorship. Am I the only person in this country that can see this??

    December 12, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  24. beevee

    I hope that president Obama stands his ground on higher taxes for the wealthy and not let the GOP dictate him their terms on spending cuts. The GOP has a hidden agenda on spending cuts that cuts benefits to the middle class and the poor in the country to make them forever remain poor while making their rich friends get even richer. The president has the support of a majority of the public that got him elected to the second term and is in a good position to dictate terms to the GOP.

    December 12, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  25. Steve

    Seems there is one huge element making this decision hard. Special interest impoact. The country voted and the polls support the president. Which GOP'er will lose the next election because he voted in favor of restoring tax rates for the rich?

    December 12, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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