Polls: Americans want compromise in debt ceiling standoff
July 19th, 2011
03:26 PM ET
12 years ago

Polls: Americans want compromise in debt ceiling standoff

Washington (CNN) - Five new national polls appear to back up President Barack Obama's statement that the public supports a combination of both spending cuts and tax increases as part of any agreement to raise the country's debt ceiling.

And the latest surveys also indicate that an increasing amount of people say that action needs to be taken to raise the debt limit.

"We've got the American people who agree with that balanced approach," the president said Tuesday to reporters at the White House, as he offered strong praise for a deficit reduction plan put together by a bipartisan group of senators, calling the measure's mix of tax hikes and spending reforms "broadly consistent" with his own approach to the current debt ceiling crisis.

The plan, by members of the Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Six" would cut the nation's debt by about $3.7 trillion over the next 10 years. If Congress fails to raise the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2, Americans could be hit with rising interest rates, a declining dollar, and increasingly jittery financial markets, among other things.

An ABC/Washington Post poll released Tuesday indicates that more than six in ten Americans say any agreement on the deficit needs to include a combination of spending cuts and new taxes. According to the survey, large majorities of Democrats and independent voters support the combined approach, with nearly half of Republicans also in agreement.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll also out Tuesday indicates that 58 percent of Americans support the president's proposal, which would reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion dollars over the next decade by cutting federal spending, increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and reducing the level of spending on Medicare. Thirty-six percent of those questioned say they support a proposal by Republicans in Congress which would reduce the Federal deficit by $2.5 trillion over the next decade by cutting Federal spending and would not raise taxes on corporations or the wealthy.

A CBS News poll released Monday indicates that two-thirds of Americans say any agreement should include spending cuts and tax increases, with 28 percent saying a deal should only include spending cuts and 3 percent saying it should only include tax increases. According to the survey, there is little partisan divide on the question. More than seven out of ten Democrats and more than two-thirds of independent voters support a balanced approach, as do 55 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of self-described tea party movement supporters.

A Quinnipiac University poll released last week had similar findings. The survey indicated that two-thirds of the public supported a deal that included spending cuts as well as tax increases for wealthy Americans and corporations. Nearly nine out of ten Democrats and two-thirds of independents questioned supported the inclusion of tax increases. Republicans in that poll were divided on the issue.

A Gallup poll Monday asked a different question, but also suggests that Americans want compromise. According to the survey, two-thirds say the people who represent them in government should agree to a compromise plan to raise the debt ceiling, even if it's a proposal with which they disagree. Only 27 percent say they would like their federal lawmaker to hold out for the basic plan they want, even if the debt ceiling is not raised by the deadline. According to the poll, 72 percent of independents, 69 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans say their lawmaker should agree to a compromise plan.

"Recent polls seem to indicate that Americans are getting more nervous about the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling by August 2," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "They may not like tax hikes and they may not like spending cuts, but they really don't like the idea of another steep economic downturn. That may have whetted their appetite for any sort of a plan, despite the details."

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday highlights the rise of concerns over the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling. According to the survey, 55 percent of the public, including 63 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents, and 47 percent of Republicans, say that not taking action would be problematic.

According to the CBS News poll, 46 percent of Americans say the debt ceiling should be raised, with 49 percent disagreeing. But the 46 percent figure is up 22 points from early June.

Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • Polls
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. A Repulbican

    OK the poepkl have spoken. Lets get it done. NOW!!!! Enough with the photo ops!

    July 19, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. ConservaFASCISTS/Domestic Terrorists/Taliban/Al Queda/TRAITORS

    Polls: Americans want compromise in debt ceiling standoff
    DUH!!! But the Teatards must have not got the memo.

    July 19, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Democrat Class Warfare & Race Baiting - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    I agree that we need to increase the taxes on the nearly 50% of the people in this country that PAY NONE and even worse, get federal welfare though their tax return.

    I agree with Obama that we must ALL SHARE THE SACRIFICE.

    Why should it all be piled at a few peoples' feet and the feet of our children, grand children, great grand children, great great grand children (more generations added if Obama is re-elected)

    July 19, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Len

    Send the polls to Tea Party folks...they think they got a mandate. They did not......they got elected by 25% of the nut jobs in this country.

    July 19, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. sonny chapman

    But I thought Mitch McConnell & John Bohner told us, the American people, what we wanted ?

    July 19, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Boomer in Mo

    Dumped a U.S. bond fund on July 13 and taking other steps to protect what I have saved for retirement from the tea party.

    July 19, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. teaturd

    Are these the same polls that Obama could be defeated by a generic Republican? , please Mr president don't waste you're time trying to help this country. They are bent on your demised whatever you do, so ilf I were you I would say f it and go out with a bang.

    July 19, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    we should know by now that the GOP IGNORES polls that don't show up in their favor. The Tea Party knows what is BEST for the American people even if we come out and say we're against it. Right now President Obama is polling at only 45% approval..a far drop after the OBL capture BUT Republicans are polling at 28% approval and this after their great win in Nov. 2010. Me thinks Americans as a whole are not impressed with the Tea Party and their antics anymore.

    July 19, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    Since the GOP screamed that most americans did not want health care and Obama "jammed it down our throat" are they going to listen to the people now when they say compromise????? Don't count on it

    July 19, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. REG in AZ

    It is time to brush aside the smokescreen of deceptive rhetoric and to face the reality of their actions. There really is no doubt that their appeals to emotions, to fears, biases and prejudices as well as to our loyalties and self-interests can simply victimize us. Our only clue to what is actually true is found in the consistency of their actions. And the first reality, is that there simply is no perfect choice; they all have their faults and are really imperfect as they all fall short of our expectations and of their promises. So what does reality tell us?

    The last eleven plus years tells us a whole lot about the focus of the Republican Party. With their aggressive and deceptive campaigning, demonstrating a total absence of any conscience, while being completely focused on their political ambitions and on catering to Special Interests and the powerful, influential and extremely wealthy few who strongly support them, providing both substantial finances and aggressive overt and covert backing, and who then greatly benefit, they just leave no doubt. Bush-Cheney made all of that absolutely clear and since then the Republican Party’s concentration on blocking all reforms, protecting Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy as well as the concessions to oil companies and always advocating giving more to the limited few at the top, while faulting the Democrats and offering nothing real, clearly establishes their loyalty and priorities. Bush-Cheney totally verified that the “trickle down” theory is a complete fraud intended only to make the wealthy wealthier and to solicit political support. No where in there is there any consideration for the people, definitely not for the total middle class as has been constantly proven by the continually growing gap between them and the very wealthy, who are always dynamically gaining under the Republicans as everyone else looses.

    The Democrats are not all “pure and holy” by any means and being too liberal is really not good but there is a drastic difference today that is really dynamic and very costly. One immediate recognition should be that the Republicans, even more than the Democrats, rely heavily on subterfuge and deception to provide them the ability to con and manipulate public opinion. Who could doubt this after witnessing the bazaar antics, done without any reservation of a conscience, by Limbaugh, Beck, Palin, others and even with the presentations by Bachmann, Kyl, Cantor, Boehner and McConnell. Everything always being intended to emotionally excite and sway the public, without regard for truth or anything other than their political ambitions.

    What really substantiates all of this and exists simply because of the difference in Republican v Democratic ideologies, causing the Republicans to be more susceptible, is that the Republicans are literally owned and controlled by “big money”. To doubt that denies the obvious reality of their actions and would indicate that someone is either being naively ignorant or blindly biased. We have seen “big money” under the guise of “ultra conservative” pour their strong support and substantial money into backing the Republicans and striving to effectively control and manipulate public opinion. We saw it with the manipulation of the Christian block, with the Swift-boat propaganda and now with the Tea Party extremes, all being well designed, well financed and well organized efforts to excite and manipulate public opinion just to favor the Republicans, who as “puppets” serve the interests of those few who “pull their strings”. We even see the forced unity of the Republican representatives, achieved by the intimidation from those like Norquist’s “Anti-Tax pledge” who actually brag they can make or break candidates, with that effectively squelching any individual consciences. It would be ridiculous not to see that these extensive and costly efforts are not for the good of the people and rather, as intended, just serve the interests of the few. The costs to the majority have been significant and always will be.

    The only way to regain the Grand Ole Party that has a conscience for the people is to break their tie to and dependency on “big money”, to encourage them to stop their concentrated service only to the few as they continually take the majority for granted, is by firmly and totally rejecting what they have become. The Democrats aren’t perfect and they must continually be pressured to do better but ... the Republicans have become totally ridiculous and with their strong supporters, who they are totally subordinate to, they just strive to use and abuse the public. The question is, are the people going to continue to be their “pawns” or refuse to be duped and manipulated and instead take back control? ... or are we just to be returned to ‘more of the same’, Bush-Cheney style, that cost us so much (reality is that is their goal)?

    July 19, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. Felipe

    Just another clear signal that the Teapublicans are not representative of what America is, wants and needs. Their best option: reisign.

    July 19, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. John

    The gang of six Plan , sound to me to being fair for both side and the American People. There shouldn't be any reason why the Republican don't agree with this Plan. The Plan Is for 3.7 Trillions dollars. This I a fair Plan for every body. This will show the American People If the Republican are going to Compromise or not. This Is a Fair deal ,so let get It done.

    July 19, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. Mark

    America has no idea what they are standing for half the time either

    July 19, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. Bill from GA

    Polls only matter to repugs if the polls agree with the repugs.

    July 19, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Bill from GA

    Fox has their polls that say just the opposite. Surly fox wouldn't mislead us???

    July 19, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. bb

    Does this poll not completely contradict the poll that CNN discussed a couple of days ago?

    July 19, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Bill from GA

    Rasmussen produces some of the most accurate and reliable polls in ..., and THEY SAY 55% oppose tax hikes in Debt Ceiling Deal You know they are "accurate and reliable", they tell us so. And that's where mcconnell gets all of his info. Honest!

    ( You have to get all the info, real or otherwise, to be informed. )

    July 19, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. B

    According to the Republicans that is not what the American people want –

    More misinformation from them as usual .

    July 19, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Bill

    The immature Cantor and his renegade band of malcontents badly miscalculated this one. Thankfully, most of these freshman will not be back after 2012. Cantor needs to go too. Rising star? He is an ass.

    July 19, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. valwayne

    Where is Obama's PLAN? After voting against raising the debt ceiling in 2006 citing a failure of Leadership Obama has suddenly hypocritically decided that the Republicans should vote for an increase, and he's even scared old people by threatening their Social Security checks to get his way! Yet HE HAS NO PLAN!!!! Can you imagine Ronald Reagan, on an issue of such importance, telling Congress to go figure it out? Or scaring old people about their Social Security checks! Obama is represents the Greatest Failure of Presidential Leadership in our nations history. That along with 9.2% UNEMPLOYMENT, Record Long Term UNEMPLOYMENT, and trillions and trillions in corrupt spending and debt have made him the worst President in well over 100 years. 2012 can get here soon enough! Obama has to go before he damages our nation beyond repair!

    July 19, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Rickster

    President Obama now earns his lowest level of support yet against a generic Republican candidate in a hypothetical 2012 election matchup. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that a generic Republican earns support from 47% of Likely Voters, while the president picks up 41% of the vote.
    Sorry dems....all your hopes and schemes have been shattered by President Failure. Generations of Americans to come need to be regularly reminded of just how awful Obama has been so that we never make this mistake again.

    July 19, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  22. Larry L

    The President is willing to compromise – which means the pain will be felt by working-class Americans, the elderly and children. The Republicans may still resist tax increases for the very wealthy and refuse to let this elite class share the pain – as if the tax increase would cause them pain. Would they eat less, get poorer health care, drive a non-luxury car, or live in a home with fewer nice features? Of course not! The increase might mean they could send less money offshore to ensure the implosion of the American economy doesn't really hurt them much. Some of their children might actually need to work some day – rather than live off the trust fund mummy & daddy left them. Get over it! This country has treated these folks very well (and more power to them) and it's time to give something back.

    July 19, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. hermit

    For those asking for the 50 percent of population that don't currently pay taxes to get off their duff, they better call their grandma and tell to find a job so she pays taxes. You might want your disabled neighbor to start working also. Of course you could be a good fellow and offer them a job!!!!!!

    July 19, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Democrat Class Warfare & Race Baiting - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Sorry dems....all your hopes and schemes have been shattered by President Failure. Generations of Americans to come need to be regularly reminded of just how awful Obama has been so that we never make this mistake again.
    The VERY scary part is that there are so many people in this that actually believe this buffoon knows what he is doing and is a good President. I can now see how blind faith can lead some people to their demise, ie Jim Jones, the spaceship weirdo, etc. Obama is CULT leader, not a President.

    July 19, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Democrat Class Warfare & Race Baiting - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    A majority of Americans will slap the kool aide glass out of the hands of the Obama cult followers in Nonv. 2012 and save them from themselves. Sad part is that they are too stupid to realize their future will have been saved.

    July 19, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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