Polls: Obama holds upper hand over budget cuts
February 27th, 2013
12:51 PM ET
10 years ago

Polls: Obama holds upper hand over budget cuts

Washington (CNN) - As the deadline for forced federal spending cuts closes fast, new polling indicates that as of now President Barack Obama has the upper hand over congressional Republicans in the political battle over where blame will fall if the cuts are triggered.

But the surveys also suggest that while the president might be winning the spending argument right now, his poll numbers on the issue are nothing to brag about.

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According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday morning, two-thirds of the public disapprove of how congressional Republicans are handling the issue of federal spending, with only 26% giving them a thumbs-up.

A slight majority (52%) also disapprove of how Obama is handling the issue but his 43% approval rating on federal spending is 17 points higher than that of congressional Republicans.

And if no deal is reached by Friday and the forced spending cuts, known inside the Beltway as the sequester, start taking affect this weekend, more fingers will be pointed at GOP lawmakers. Forty-five percent of those questioned in a Pew Research Center/Washington Post survey released earlier this week said congressional Republicans should take more blame, with 32% saying they'd place more blame with the president, and 13% saying both sides should be blamed equally.

Here's another way to illustrate the point: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll from Tuesday indicates that Americans are divided over whether Obama is emphasizing unifying the country or taking a partisan approach. But by a 3-1 margin, they say that congressional Republicans are putting partisanship over unity, according to the survey.

"It looks like this could turn into a "lose-lose" scenario for both sides, although the Republicans appear to have more to lose than Obama," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "It's likely that the GOP will get most of the blame if the forced spending cuts actually take effect, but there's a lot of blame to go around, and if a majority disapprove of how Obama is handling this issue, it's unlikely he will escape any blowback from the sequester."

While Democrats are overwhelmingly united in their support of how the president's handling the federal spending, the ABC/Washington Post poll indicates that Republicans are divided (44%-51%) on how GOP lawmakers are dealing with the issue.

Obama has the upper hand on this ongoing fiscal fight, but it appears his advantage is diminished from the battle just two months ago over the fiscal cliff.
The president's 13-point advantage over the GOP in Congress for blame on the sequester is half of the 26-point advantage over them during December's fight over the fiscal cliff.

Filed under: Budget • Congress • Deficit • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. rs

    The PEW polling from earlier in the week shows the Sequester will not turn out well for the GOP. The majority not only hold the GOP responsible, they also feel the GOP is too radiccal in their orientation. 2 days and counting to the GOP suicide.

    February 27, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Martha in CF

    Hold firm to your cause President Obama...the American people are behind you. The loosing redumblicans will know the effect come the next elections. But, congress had better start working together......

    February 27, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. NameChris

    With all the budget problems going on in Washington, why is the President and the Vise President out campaigning?

    February 27, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    There they go again. Reublicans have painted themselves into nice neat corner, which they have once created entirely by themselves. I guess they figure that they're going to trap Pres. Obama inside of their trap. But, they keep overlooking the fact that once you lead your opponent into a trap, you have make sure where everyone is once you close the door.

    February 27, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. Ferret out the BS

    The House needs to revaluate their previous legislation and come up with something that is bi-partisan in its approach to the budget. That means taking into account the Senate Democrats as well as the house or nothing will pass either house. It means compromise and not everyone will get what they want be right now this country is heading to economic disaster. Our politicians won't feel it until election time but believe me the 99% will, right now.

    February 27, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. polnick

    A cost cutting Czar is needed to save the US economy from bankruptcy. Wasteful military and social programs are sinking the ship of state; trillions can be saved by the wisdom of a Czar. He should be a person without compassion for freeloaders, Bureaucrats, lobbyists and others who waste the taxpayer’s money. Unfortunately millions will lose their jobs and starve or die from lack of medical attention, but private charities can help some of the useless and homeless survive.

    February 27, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Apparently Boehner feels that getting 98% of what he wanted was insufficient. Is he after that last 2%?

    February 27, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. WatrGrrl

    Yeah, Ba-rack holds a position in the so-called budget talks – but he's not Gawd, nor the Black Messiah that the media portrays him as. Ba-rack cannot blame his predecessor for the increase in the deficit from $10 Trillion to $16 Trillion nor the consistent unemployment figures nor the increase of people receiving food stamps or the sharp uptick in the numbers of people living in poverty. But he can, and will, continue to bankrupt this nation because he can no more stop spending the People's money than he can stop lying. Barack Hussein Obama is an embarassment to The People of The United States and a demonstration of the abject failure of that social experiment called affirmative action.

    February 27, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. v_mag

    Americans don't care who has the upper hand. Outside of D.C., why would anybody be interested in the petty political games played by professional buffoons? We're interested in knowing when the adults are coming back to govern. When are the people we elected going to do their jobs? When is government going to abandon finger-pointing and take responsibility?

    February 27, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. Jerry

    How ignorant and blind can some people be when it comes to the Messiah?! HIS supporters don't seem or don't want to realize that the Sequester lies squarely on the Messiah's back. HIS administration proposed it and he willingly signed off on it. Now that the excrement has hit the fan; he is CRYING foul.

    How closed brained can some people be not to see through Obama's lying and blame games?!

    Oops! Sorry!!! For a moment I did forget that HE IS the Messiah or the Chosen One. (This according to Bobble Head Pelosi.)

    February 27, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Boo

    Hey Jerry – apparently you never played poker......

    February 27, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. ghostriter

    watrgrrl, most of that spending was due to Bush era policies. That tidbit has been out there for over two years now. And yes, unemployment, the number of folks on welfare tend to go up and the accumulated wealth of folks tend to go down during a recession. And I was unaware that affrimative action dictated that the president should be black.

    Jerry, can the president sign a bill that was not created and passed by BOTH huoses of Congress? No. Which party controls half of Congress? Republicans.

    Now for the $20,000 question, which politician claimed to have gotten 98% of what his party wanted out of the sequestration bill?

    February 27, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Name lynn

    Boehner an the republicans an the white house leaders looks tired an worn out, obama look well an exicting an handsome. I know the people is waiting on obama,to see whats obama is cutting budget is. Obama does have the upper hand.

    February 27, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. Peace

    Boehner and his gang need to learn. People always get behind the winner and not the loser. Also when it comes on cutting money, of which people benefit from it, they never give a thumb up as most think on living at present and not in future.

    February 27, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Jerry

    When the just released illegals and other criminals start killing, maiming raping, robbing, etc., etc., etc., innocent Américan citizens (White, Black, Latino, etc., etc.) WHO YO GONNA CALL?!

    Don't waste your time calling "Mr. Ins-transparent." He and his "Benders Forward" will deny it all. Oops! Sorry!!! For a second there I forgot HE was the Messiah (according to Bobble Head Pelosi), and the Messiah can can act as "Kingly" as the Américan King that HE has always aspired to be.

    For now, Américan's opinions don't count. After all, aren't we HIS subjects?!

    América, STAY TUNED...

    February 27, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Jerry wrote:

    How ignorant and blind can some people be when it comes to the Messiah?! HIS supporters don't seem or don't want to realize that the Sequester lies squarely on the Messiah's back. HIS administration proposed it and he willingly signed off on it. Now that the excrement has hit the fan; he is CRYING foul.
    I believe your question answers itself. Seeing how 75% of House Republicans voted for HIS sequester, one would have to conclude that they are at least 75% responsible for its' existence.. See? Simple math.

    Besides, in light of how much gloatingly enthusiatstic support that passage had recieved from Republicans at the time, chastising it now as bad legislation only makes the mainstream shake their heads in utter disbelief. "They've got to be kiddin' me. Republicans could not have seriously said that. Do they think I'm stupid, or something?"

    February 27, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. DENNA

    The GOP will come out looking really, really bad if the sequestration is allowed to go forward. Boehner apparently does not remember when Gingrich tried this same stunt with the budget when he was Speaker of the House. President Clinton came up smelling like roses and it did not turn out well for the GOP. The Republicans have been slow getting the memo. The American public reelected President Obama, so he is acting on behalf of the majority of Americans. I guess the GOP think this stunt will win the the 2014 mid-term elections. I would not bet the farm on it.

    February 27, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. rjc

    Can anyone please share the list of the Cuts that the President has offered? I'd like to review those..

    Oh and BTW – CNN what are the sampling statistics are they weighted more Democrat like they usually are? Because my Republican weighted survey blames the President and the Democrats...

    February 27, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |