Polls show Obama has more public support in fiscal cliff talks
December 12th, 2012
10:19 AM ET
10 years 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. Larry in Houston

    @Darryl @ 10:49 am – – apparently you haven't watched CNN very much, probably none at all – Hate to be a bearer of bad tidings, but they (CNN) & the people that work for them, are the most NON Bias News Network there is – people wonders why this country is so divided ? LOL – I remember when fox was slammimg dubya – I mean, I'll have to agree, he wasn't smart, at ALL – but it seems like they slam everybody that holds some type of political office in this country –

    Here's the thing – obama isn't the one who is dividing this country – all you have to do is go and watch fox – for 1 ( one) 24 hr period – or take Any evening, ANY day of the week – You will watch / see / & hear – all the Venom / Vitrol – for not only the office of the presidency of this great country – but the President himself – I'll bet you a dollar to your dime, that if this country Ever gets another republican in office, they will rip / and slam whomever the president IS – of this great country. I mean, those guys spit all of that non-sense, it's pathetic. It's all right wing propaganda, and the more they spew it, this country will end up electing a Democrat, every time. It may even be 2024 before we get another republican IN office. ( It's really too bad, I used to believe "some" of their principles) But they've got hi-jacked.

    December 12, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. Anthony

    The sad thing is that Republicans want to re-fight the debt-ceiling battle again. Republicans do not learn from their mistakes, and want to re-fight battles that they have already lost. In the debt-ceiling crisis, Republicans could not get the spending cuts they wanted, so they agreed to automatic cuts to the military, which became a part of the fiscal cliff. Now they want to renegotiate the terms even though they LOST the election. No wonder Obama won. The Republican Party is so pathetic right now that even Romney would have beaten them in 2012, if he had run as a Democrat. Well, come to think of it, Romney did beat everyone in the Republican primary.

    December 12, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Elizabeth Spencer

    I wonder if the leaders of our country realize that we ,the citizens, are not interested in a war between Republicans and Democrats.You were sent to Washington to represent us, the people, and not your parties.Our preferences were shown in the election. We are watching your concern for us. Future elections will be based on what we are observing now.

    December 12, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. penguin

    The "cliff" is a set of tax increases and spending cuts. To avoid this "cliff" we are proposing a different set of tax increases and spending cuts. Although the ultimate mix of tax increases and spending cuts may do less damage than the "cliff", the ultimate "cure" will still affect the economy adversely. Personally, I favor the "cliff" because it seems to be the only way to bring down defense spending.

    December 12, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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