Time to raise debt ceiling: Does public back approach of Obama or Boehner? (+ video)
Polls don't answer the question directly but indicate public support for Obama's 'balanced approach' to deficit reduction. But worry about 'government dysfunction' is also at its highest point since Watergate, and Americans are signaling to leaders that they want compromise.
President Obama and Speaker John Boehner on Monday laid out sharply opposing visions of how to resolve the looming crisis over the national debt ceiling – and each claims public supports for his own line in the sand.Skip to next paragraph
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So, who has a better fix on the public mood?
On the policy dispute, polls indicate the public now favors Mr. Obama's call for a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction over the Boehner principle of matching spending cuts to every dollar increase in the debt limit.
But there's more. Ever since the fiscal-cliff debacle in 2011, public opinion has swung strongly in favor of compromise. Regardless of the policy outcomes they prefer, Americans are wary of hardline positions and want their leaders to negotiate and compromise.
Americans are now more worried about the federal budget deficit and “government dysfunction” than they are about unemployment, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.
Since 2009, the top two responses to Gallup’s (open-ended) question, “what do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?,” have been the economy and unemployment.
While “the economy in general” still ranks No. 1 (21 percent), the federal budget deficit (20 percent) and dissatisfaction with government (18 percent) edged unemployment (16 percent) out of the top two slots.
“Debt and dissatisfaction with government are the new unemployment,” says Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll in Princeton, N.J.
Dissatisfaction with government hasn’t ranked this high in Gallup polling since the Watergate era in 1974. As divided as Americans are on debt and deficit policy, they still expect their leaders to compromise.
The 2011 debt-limit standoff, resolved at the 11th hour after Democrats agreed to Boehner's demands to match every dollar of a higher debt limit with a dollar of spending cuts, rattled the US economy and drew the first-ever downgrade of the US credit rating.