CNN Poll: Are GOP policies too extreme?
December 20th, 2012
05:00 AM ET
1 year ago

CNN Poll: Are GOP policies too extreme?

Washington (CNN) - Just over half the public says that the GOP should give up more than the Democrats in any bipartisan solution to the country's problems, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that a slight majority of Americans sees the Republican party's policies and views as too extreme, a first for the GOP, and fewer than a third say they trust congressional Republicans more than President Barack Obama to deal with the major issues facing the nation.

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The poll's Thursday release comes less than two weeks before the country faces automatic tax increases on nearly all Americans, as well as deep federal spending cuts, if no deal is struck to avert the country from falling off the fiscal cliff at the end of the year.

According to the survey, 53% say the GOP should compromise more, with 41% saying the Democratic Party should give up more of the proposals it supports to develop bipartisan solutions.

"That's due in part to the fact that the Republican brand is not doing all that well," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed say they view the policies of the GOP as too extreme, up 17 points from two years ago. Only 37% say they view the polices of the Democratic Party as too extreme.

It probably doesn't help that House Speaker John Boehner, who's leading GOP fiscal cliff negotiations with the president, is held in fairly low regard, particularly in comparison to Obama. According to the poll, 34% of the public approves of how the top Republican in the House handling his job. By contrast, the president's approval rating stands at 52%.

"Small wonder that nearly half say they have more confidence in President Obama than in the congressional Republicans and that nearly half (48%) would blame the GOP if the fiscal cliff occurs," adds Holland.

Thirty-seven percent said they would blame the president more, with 11% saying they would point fingers at both sides equally if no agreement is struck to avert falling off the fiscal cliff.

The survey also indicates that seven in ten Americans continue to think that the fiscal cliff will cause a crisis or major problems for the country if a deal is not reached.

The poll's release comes one day after Obama and Boehner publicly butted heads, with the president saying Republicans were focused too much on besting him personally instead of thinking about what's best for the country. And Boehner said Obama had yet to make a proposal offering his promised approach of balance between increased revenue and spending cuts.

The survey's release also comes hours before the Republican led House is expected to vote on Boehner's backup tax plan that limits tax hikes to income above $1 million. While a concession from his original opposition to any kind of increase in tax rates, the Boehner plan sets a significantly higher threshold for a rate hike than the $400,000 level sought by Obama.

One piece of good news for the Republicans in the survey: Most Americans say that it's good for the country that the GOP controls the House, an indication that the public would not like to see the Democrats with unchecked power in Washington.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International December 17-18, with 620 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN poll • Fiscal Cliff • Republicans
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Now that sounds like an unbiased poll....right next to have you stopped beating your wife yet...

    December 20, 2012 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  2. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Nov 6 2012 answered that question.

    December 20, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  3. Gregory M. Newbold

    It`s not the "extremeness" of their policies; it`s the HIPOCRACY.

    For 30 years, Republicans have tried to portray themeselves as the one`s that will make the "TOUGH ADULT" decisions. The ones that are to be trusted because they have the gonads to say no to the child-like euphoria of the masses of the nation. This was a FARCE that took 30 years but that has been revealed. Even their use & MISUSE of the word "conservative" as though it is synonymous with "Republican" is starting to be questioned for they are SPENDTHRIFTS; they just do it on illegitamate WARS. Where is the tough love for the rich to pay a fair tax rate, where is the tough love over gun proliferation, where was the tough, capitalistic love during the financial crisis to let the banks fail? Depositors money wasn`t at risk because of FDIC. What the Republicans protected were the cushy job and inflated incomes of banking employees, banking managers, banking directors, banking VP`s & banking CEOs. The American economy would be healthier if those crazy risks had resulted in some personal bankruptcies on Wall Street. That result would have been extreme & conservative; not the stuff the GOP is peddling.

    December 20, 2012 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  4. Chris

    I despise the obstructionism, the disingenuousness and hyper-partisanship that now characterizes the GOP. I hate the evangelical nonsense, and the raw stupidity of the Tea Party and the entire current crop of imbecilic and pandering Republican “leaders” – from Romney, McConnell, and Boehner to Palin, Gingrich, Bachmann, and Santorum. I do not know how the party of Buckley, became the party of these clowns. But I do know that I must oppose it.

    Democrats like to characterize the GOP as the party of the “rich.” But I’ll let you in on a secret: Many of the “rich” got that way because they’re smart. And the GOP is no longer the party of the smart. You won’t find many rich or smart people at Palin book signings, tuning in to Rush Limbaugh, carrying signs at Tea Party rallies or giving a rat's butt about Santorum and the “evangelical” vote.

    The GOP has become the party of the uneducated and silly – people who see conspiracies everywhere and blame others for their lot in life. People who cannot appreciate or understand complexity, subtlety and shades of gray, and who eagerly embrace simplistic solutions to the complex problems of the country offered up by demagogues and religious nuts. Their simple-mindedness is one of the reasons they are unsuccessful in the first place, and why they will remain on the bottom of the food chain regardless of which party is in power. And people who are so easily swayed by inane demagoguery or religious mumbo jumbo that they will vote against their own interests and not even realize it.

    December 20, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  5. Name lynn

    Everyone is talking back and forth at each other the republicans dont want the rich paying highe taxes the middle class and the poor people paying higher taxes whats wrong with it the head of republican trying to make it hard for obama yet president have the first and last say about everything

    December 20, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  6. Marie MD

    The party of he!! no and the tea trolls talk about big government out of my life but they want to control women, gays, Latinos, seniors, the young, veterans, people with disabilities, to name a few, all in the name of their congressional job and rich people.
    Is there is a word was past and beyond extreme let's start using that word for the quickly disappearing party of the gop.

    December 20, 2012 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  7. Gurgyl

    Not only extreme, but also crazy without proper thinking...

    December 20, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  8. W.

    Other than the obvious, when half of a population disagrees with a political body of influence, that body should be very concerned for its future. We are in the same predicament as France just before its revolution and we have no cake to eat. The GOP has made a bed exclusively for the wealthy to lie upon as the rest of America sleeps on the floor. The time has arrived when we are faced with a paradigm; the rubicon of social order. Do live as a society of democratic voices or be ruled by a bloated and opaque opulent few that has driven the economic engine into a seizure. These are frightening times indeed.

    December 20, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  9. HenryB

    And this is surprising? And will this cause these very same Republicans to reflect? Probably not. They are such ideologues. The GOP is like coffee that has been left to sit so long that it is boiled down to a nasty and tarry substance. All the goodness has left the party; all that remains is anger, fear, and hatred for those not like them. Shame, shame.

    December 20, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  10. Odo

    The GOP are just afraid that if they give in to Obama and success results they will lose what little credibility they have left....they'd rather kill the country instead.

    December 20, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  11. southexas

    Too radical since they live in a la la world and think we all should think like them. They think they are still in 1960's which is a myth. They are fools ..

    December 20, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  12. james

    This is a fabricated story to try to steer people into a non-truthful and anti-moral way of life! I will pray for God's peace and Love into all Americans. Let's stand strong and proud for Capitalism and work and pray against all evil and Socialistic ideas that are hurting this Great American country. We have been given freedoms in all things to pass down to all of our children and to their children!

    December 20, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  13. Jake

    Not only are they too extreme, but they are racists, bigots, and only care about the wealthy. What kind of decent human being would cut Social Security and Medicare to our seniors to give to the millionaires and billionaires. The only way to ever get these lowlifes to return to representing real America is to vote the current bunch of bribe taking GOP worms out. The next group will either learn their lesson or become extinct.

    December 20, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |