Poll: Americans want compromise in budget battle
February 24th, 2011
10:05 AM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Americans want compromise in budget battle

Washington (CNN) - By a 2-1 margin, Americans want lawmakers in Congress to seek compromise to avoid a government shutdown, according to a new national poll.

The USA Today/Gallup survey also indicated that the public is divided over whether President Barack Obama and Democrats or Republicans in Congress are doing a better job in the battle over the federal budget.

Forty-two percent of people questioned in the poll said that Republicans are doing a better job handling the budget crisis, with 39 percent giving the nod to the president and Democrats and 16 percent unsure. The GOP's 3 point advantage is within the survey's sampling error.

By a 37-33 percent margin, independent voters said that Republicans are doing a better job. One in 4 independents said they were undecided.

The poll indicated that 6 out of 10 want the lawmakers to agree to a compromise, while nearly one-third said that lawmakers should hold out for the basic budget plan they want, even if it means the federal government shuts down. Seven out of 10 Democrats and just over 6 out of 10 independents favor compromise, with Republicans favoring a compromise by a narrower 49-42 percent margin.

The survey indicated that one out of four said that the GOP's budget plans go too far in cutting federal spending, an equal amount said the plan is just right, and 37 percent answered it doesn't cut enough.

Thirteen percent said that the president and Democrats' plan goes to far, 29 percent said it's just right and nearly half answered it doesn't go far enough.

A House Republican bill, which passed the chamber on Saturday by a 235-189 margin, basically along party lines, slashed more than $60 billion in federal funding for the seven months remaining in the 2011 fiscal year. The fight over spending now moves to the Senate, but with Obama threatening to veto the House bill and Senate Democratic leaders calling the GOP's cuts "extreme," the possibility of a government shutdown looms.

Only eight days remain before the current resolution funding federal agencies expires.

The USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted February 22, with 1,004 national adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Budget • Congress • Polls
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. The unsub

    The republicans have found that they cannot deliver. They bit off more than they can chew!

    February 24, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. RAS

    Yes, and they should consider that extending things just as they are now a la Ried's proposal is not a compramise, nor a cut. It is keeping the same trajectory that BO and the dem-controlled congress from the last two years put us on.

    February 24, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. james Miller

    What about spreading the pain increasing the taxes on those making over $250K/ yr. Fair is fair.

    February 24, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. George

    Come on Pubes. Reprise 1995. How did that one work out for you? (Hint: Bill Clinton was reelected the next year.)

    February 24, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. Michael

    To those polled who said they felt Republicans were doing a better job handling the budget ... how many of you are taking advantage of social and economic programs that they want to cut funding to?

    February 24, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  6. Rick McDaniel

    Nobody in Washington, cares 2 cents, for what Americans want.

    February 24, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. dcmisty

    The new Tea Party congressmen need to remember one important thing – they were elected by the people in their respective districts in their respective states. They WERE NOT ELECTED by all the voters in every state! If the GOP doesn't watch out, it will shoot itself in the foot come 2012. The egos are flying high and no one is using their head! Most voters don't respond well to "My way or the highway" ultimatums.

    February 24, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. vegas01

    We really want truth.Truth about the shutdown not effecting distribution of SSA checks. Truth about what is the federal government's Constitutional assigned powers. Truth about the absence of federal power in areas where power was reserved to the States and People. Truth that our federal government was never tasked not intended to 'provide' welfare for anyone, but to "promote" (retain liberties that afford) the general welfare of all.
    These truths work counterproductive to power hungry politicians and people seeking to impose their beliefs on others.
    Is compromise really a good word? Is it good to compromise quality? to compromise security? to compromise trust? No, so I ask why is it good to compromise a balanced budget?

    February 24, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  9. Ernie

    You can have all the polls you want it still show that nothing is getting done in Washington. I wrote yesterday that Speaker of the House John Boehner and the Tea Partyer', and Reapublicians should run a politicial add showing how Obama and the Democrates have all the intention in shutting down the Government. John Boehner is afraid of Obama he can't look Obama in the eye and tell him "Go right ahead and shut down the Government" then he should tell Obama if you shut down the government don't expect to get anything you want done. John Boehner doesn't have the stone to tell Obama this. If Obama shuts down the government and the Republicians do nothing then Speaker John Boehner should step down, this is what the peoplel didn't vote for. All this talk about shutting down the gobernment is just "gamemanship" to see who is going to blink first. It better not be Speaker John Boehner. Speaker John Boehner talks a good game but hasn't shown it yet.

    February 24, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Bob in PA

    A comprimise that stops them from spending what we don't have.

    February 24, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. A keen observer

    Perhaps the draconian cuts republicans propose should be enacted and then voters will see how devastating the meat ax approach to fiscal discipline can be.

    February 24, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. james Miller

    If both sides are equally angry and equally financially hit in the pocketbook according to their ability to pay, then it`s about right. Just spread the love.

    February 24, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  13. Charlie

    I believe most Americans want a fiscal plan addressing the budget deficit and the national debt that: (1) provides a realistic timeline for a recovery, (2) spreads the necessary pain equitably, (3) stays a few percentage points ahead the interest paid on the debt so real progress is being made, (4) considers all budgetary items, (5) is immune to the vagaries of changing administrations, and (6) whose progress is monitored and published regularly so the citizens know their shared sacrifices are meaningful.

    February 24, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  14. Stay Informed

    Cutting too drastically when our recovery is still fragile could easily cause a backslide. This has happened in Ireland and England. President Obama's cuts are balanced and a good start without putting our economic recovery in peril. The GOP acts without forethought and refuses to consider cutting taxpayers subsidies to oil companies or tax breaks for the rich, but doesn't hesitate to take away nutrition programs for poor pregnant women or funding for low income women to receive cancer screenings, birth control and other necessary health services. The GOP is all for the rich and nothing for the rest of us. Their cuts put the middle class in peril, but they do not care because they only work for the rich.

    February 24, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  15. Ryan

    Why are the President and Senate threatening to veto the bill which they call extreme when more people (37% of Republicans and almost 50% of Democrats) are saying even more cuts are needed to trim the deficit?

    February 24, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  16. Dean

    Budget? When oil hits $200 a barrel budgets won't matter much. The economy will sink lower than ever.
    When is this country going to wake up. We need a national oil company that will drill our oil in this country and only supply it to the U. S.
    Would keep the price reasonable and release us from depending on people who hate us for our oil.

    February 24, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  17. T'sah from Virginia

    [Poll: Americans want compromise in budget battle ]

    Yes, but we're now split THREE WAYS – Far-right, right and left (as the LEFT slowly moves to the middle)!! Eliminate the FAR-RIGHT and it MIGHT be room for compromise!!! As long as the FAR-RIGHT is in the MIX, nothing is going to get done because...

    The far-right tell others they don't belong
    It must be their way or you must be gone
    They truly believe they own the throng
    But they are so HEAD STRONG and DEAD WRONG!

    This country is so diverse; NO ONE should be in charge or believe their way is always the RIGHT way. We need to compromise and that’s the bottom line – I “grit my teeth” sometimes when I agree with someone from the right when I know it is a FACT and true – but I agree and would be willing to COMPROMISE. That is where the TP and Far-Right will FAIL (and some on the FAAAAARRRRRRR LEFT)!!

    We need to support our current leader, President Obama, as he continues to MOVE AMERICA FORWARD to WIN THE FUTURE – I mean it, WTF!!!!

    February 24, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  18. luc

    Americans Want Jobs! Where are the jobs? Thats all,do your job!!!!! Vote Gop,TeaParty, work your butt off to make the Rich,Richer! Let the Rich run the sweat shops we will all be working in!! If you don,t, our corporate ceo,s will move their factories to India,Mexico, ect. Polls, there can't be that many idiots believing Gop rhetoric??? WOW!

    February 24, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  19. XWngLady

    How much do those surveyed actually know about what is being proposed (on both sides)? I mean do they even know ALL of what is being proposed. Have they thought about the ramifications of all of this? I doubt it very seriously.

    February 24, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. ConservaFascists

    Compromise seems unlikely when the ConservaFascists want everything their way. They're influenced by the Koch Brothers in Washington just as Dictator Walker is in Wisconsin.

    February 24, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There needs to be an understanding among all of the Congress (especially the GOP) that taxes are going to have go up on just about everybody even the middle class. I don't see anything worthwhile in give the wealthy tax breaks because they don't spend it noticable. They need to start helping charities in larger percentages and make it clear. If Bush had continued the same tax levels and continued to pay down some of the debt, there would be less of an issue. The problem is that there were two major (unpaid) military engagements and an unpaid Medicare program. That added to the debt as well as uncontrolled spending by the GOP controlled Congress.

    I don't like paying more in taxes, but it must be done as well as the cutting in spending. We need both sides of the books!

    February 24, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  22. willie floyd

    The amount of the cuts isn't the only problem. It's WHAT the Reps. want to cut. IMHO if the presidents' health care is overturned the Reps. can expect a huge outcry from the public to insist they pay for own insurance rather than have us as taxpayers pay for it.

    February 24, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. Mark

    WHERE IS CNN? Not in Wisconsin. Not in Ohio. Remember back to the Tea Party protests. On a daily basis CNN was stirring up trouble by desperately trying to find people holding signs that didn’t show the President in a good light. Where is the daily CNN reporting on the large amount of signed in Wisc? Ohio? The signs are not hard to find this time. CNN is now completely silent. Why?

    February 24, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Bill from GA

    While Congress needs to cut waste, America needs to remember that there was NO COMPROMISE last fall when the repugs got tax cut extensions for their rich buddies, to the tune of hundreds of billions added to the debt.

    February 24, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. Name king

    These repugs got the mentality of "my way or the high way" I am surprised that almost half of these nut jobs want to compromise. They will hold the country hostage with the quickness. they keep yelling about the government spends too much, and refuse to see that the government is taking in tax revenue at a historic low. History have shown over and over again, that with low revenue taxes, the country is always in a slump. Because taxes does not drive our economy, demand do.

    February 24, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
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