CNN Poll: Americans split on GOP budget proposal; Obama's leadership numbers go down
April 13th, 2011
09:42 AM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans split on GOP budget proposal; Obama's leadership numbers go down

Washington (CNN) - Americans are divided on whether the new plan by House Republicans to cut spending goes too far, but the public definitely thinks the GOP budget unfairly favors some groups more than others, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also indicates that last Friday's budget agreement for the remainder of this fiscal year that averted a government shutdown did not boost President Barack Obama's reputation as a strong leader or good manager.

Fifty-one percent of people questioned in the poll say the Republican proposal for the 2012 budget goes too far in cutting spending, with 47 percent saying the cuts are not too deep. But by a 68 to 29 percent margin, Americans say the proposed GOP cuts unfairly favor some groups more than others. And seven in ten also believe the Republican budget will affect their families.

"It all adds up to a mild advantage for President Obama on budget issues," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Forty-eight percent of people we questioned say they prefer the president's approach to the budget over the GOP's approach, with 43 percent saying prefer Republican budget policies."

The poll's Wednesday morning release comes just a few hours before Obama is scheduled to give a speech outlining his new deficit reduction plan. The survey also comes out just one day before the full House begins to consider the GOP plan, which was put forward by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

That proposal would radically restructure Medicare and Medicaid, reform the tax code and take an ax to the federal budget overall. Under the plan the government would eventually stop paying bills for senior citizens in the Medicare program. Instead, Medicare recipients would choose a plan from a list of private providers, which the federal government would subsidize. Individuals currently 55 or older would not be affected by the changes.

Some conservatives said it didn't go far enough. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that the fiscal year 2012 Ryan blueprint "fails the test of balance, and balance is essential."

Ryan's plan puts the burden of balancing the budget on seniors, the middle class and the disabled while failing to ask for more from the richest Americans, Carney said.

In his speech Wednesday, the president is expected to weigh in with his plan for long-term debt-reduction plan, which could include a call for reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, as well as defense cuts and an increase in taxes on the wealthy. Such a plan was absent from Obama's 2012 budget proposal in February.

As the House begins to debate the 2012 budget, it also votes Thursday on the last minute agreement Friday night to fund the federal government for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.

The president's role in the tense negotiations doesn't appear to be giving him a political boost.

The survey indicates that 53 percent now say Obama's a strong and decisive leader, down four points since the start of the year and down by nearly 20 points since his first year in office. And 55 percent say that the president cannot manage the government effectively. The perception that Obama is compassionate is still one of his core characteristics: 57 percent say that he cares about average Americans. But most say that they disagree with Obama on important issues.

"The president's ace in the hole may be what the elder George Bush once called 'the vision thing'. Two-thirds say that President Obama has a vision for the country's future - so expect to hear more about 'winning the future' in the coming months," adds Holland.

One other advantage: Obama has kept his "base" happy, and the showdown over the shutdown probably had something to do with that. The president's approval rating among Democrats rose slightly in the wake of last Friday's budget deal, and more than eight in ten Democrats want to see the party re-nominate him next year. That's the highest amount of support from rank and file Democrats that Obama has scored to date.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted by telephone, with 824 people questioned. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: Budget • Polls
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Angie

    Republican Tea Party Paul Ryan's Budget cuts of 4. trillion dollars equals the same amount in Tax cuts Ryan's budget proposal gives to the Super Rich. In other words, Paul Ryan budget proposal is to Take from the elderly, handicap, and poor while spending it all on Large Tax Checks to the Super Rich. That's NOT a cutting the deficit plan. That is call redistribution of wealth!

    April 13, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  2. rusty155

    The Republican budget does only go after the middle class and the poor and the OLD and the disabled. It doesn't take any thing from the Rich ,aren't they American people too. The Republican have to understand they work for the American people ,Not only the Rich One. They are a lot more people In the bottom three class of people than there are rich one. And you Republican are losing a lot of people that voted for you In 2010 that Not going to In 2012. And the Tea PARTY don't worry about them most American people know they are nothing but Corporate Drones And only care what the KOCH'S BROTHER AND A FEW OTHER BILLIONAIRE WANTS. The Tea Party must go. You keep saying you doing what the American people want , well you are not so stop saying that. You are doing what the Republican and the Tea Party want, keep going and see if you have job In 2012. You better quit worrying about what the Tea Party want , and start worrying about what the rest of the 80% of the American people want. We are getting trier of your stuff real bad the why you Republican are going about this budget cut and to rise the dept ceiling. You republican once say the American people have gave you a second chance, well let me tell you you are blowing It. You have to Compromise ,and we do mean Compromise.

    April 13, 2011 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. Angie

    Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, 2002, in a meeting with Cheney, did warn that the Bush tax cuts would lead to an alarming rise in Federal deficits. Republican Cheney said "...Deficits Don't Matter!" O'Neill was fired one month later. In 2004 during an interview Cheney was asked about the incident. Cheney replied with "Deficits Really Don't Matter!" When O'Neill was asked on his views regarding the Bush Tax Cuts, Paul O'Neill said that the Bush Tax Cuts could cause the Federal Deficit to reach into the Trillions. O'Neill was right. And his reward for doing his job well in 2002 was getting fired. Republicans are such hypocrites!

    April 13, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  4. Bob

    A poll conducted by CNN is about as accurate, fair and balanced as a poll conducted by Fox News. I wish cable news would just come out and just tell the world who they are rooting for and who they are not. Trying to make polls like this as news is a joke.

    April 13, 2011 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  5. cindy

    If washington politicians dont do what we elected them to do....there are going to be alot of disappointed politicians in2012...Let me give you a tax reform and equal playing field....not our rights or your personal agendas

    April 13, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  6. all the news that's fit to omit

    "Winning the future", outstanding job Carney, Oblunder has turned into Charlie Sheen.............

    NO LEADERSHIP AT ALL, no plans at all, but yet the sheep still think he is doing something and the reality is the coward sits on the sidelines and waits for others to do.

    How about the coward in 2006 saying "raising the debt ceiling to 8 trillion dollars is a failure of leadership blah, blah, blah" and the coward voted no, but TODAY he wants to raise it WELL OVER 14 TRILLION?

    The camera hog, can't say in front of a camera that he regrest the vote and his long winded speeches against it?

    Nah, the coward sends out a mouthpiece instead.

    April 13, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
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