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Public Apparently Not Impressed With GOP Performance During Debt Negotiations

According to a new CBS News poll, the GOP seems to be losing the public relations war over the debt ceiling negotiations:

Americans are unimpressed with their political leaders’ handling of the debt ceiling crisis, with a new CBS News poll showing a majority disapprove of all the involved parties’ conduct, but Republicans in Congress fare the worst, with just 21 percent backing their intransigent resistance to raising taxes.

President Obama earned the most generous approval ratings for his handling of the weeks-old negotiations, but still more people said they disapproved (48 percent) than approved (43 percent) of what he has done and said.

(….)

Approval drops to 31 percent for the Democrats in Congress, and only 21 percent of the people surveyed said they approved of Republicans’ handling of the negotiations, while 71 percent disapprove.

Even half of the Republican respondents (51 percent) voiced disapproval of how members of their own party in Congress are handling the talks. Far fewer Democrats expressed disapproval of their own party’s handling (32 percent) or President Obama’s (22 percent) of the urgent quest to raise the nation’s debt limit ahead of a looming default on Aug. 2 if action isn’t taken.

It’s no surprise that even President Obama doesn’t get majority support on this issue. Given the generally public distaste for raising the debt ceiling to begin with, they’re likely not pleased with anyone just about now. Nonetheless, the GOP’s hardline would seem to be appealing to the “no debt ceiling increase” crowd. And, yet, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The GOP should take that as a warning, I think.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. teapartydoc says:

    Once again, this is a failure of communicating properly. The R’s have not emphasized enough that the Man With Horse Face is making threats that he has total control over, and that if Granny doesn’t get her check it is because of Man With Hose Face’s priorities, and not because the checks can’t be cut.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 21

  2. john personna says:

    I think the public is on to them, that they are holding “no debt ceiling increase” less strongly than ” “no tax increase”

    They are willing to accept a debt ceiling increase in exchange for no tax increase.

    That should be antithetical to their philosophy, as it just compounds the debt problem, but there it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. guyinadiner says:

    The only way this poll makes any sense is that those Republicans disapproving of Republicans in Congress are doing so because congressional Republicans (specifically McConnell) are viewed as not being tough enough in opposing raising the debt ceiling.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  4. That Guy says:

    “Even half of the Republican respondents (51 percent) voiced disapproval of how members of their own party in Congress are handling the talks.”

    Well, actually, it looks like a fair amount of the negative polling for the GOP is increased (as evidenced above) by the fact that Republican respondents aren’t all that pleased with the Reid-McConnell plan which appears to be moving forward.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  5. james brann says:

    why forget the bush years why undo what the republican done thereself

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  6. Michael says:

    The only way this poll makes any sense is that those Republicans disapproving of Republicans in Congress are doing so because congressional Republicans (specifically McConnell) are viewed as not being tough enough in opposing raising the debt ceiling.

    Right, the only other explanation is that a large number of self-identifying Republicans are sane.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  7. narciso says:

    A poll of adults, with an 11 point Democrat advantage, could you even pretend to be curious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  8. mattb says:

    @guyinadiner, @That Guy: After having read the limited release raw data from that poll, there’s no information to suggest why the Republicans are unhappy — just that they are (seriously CBS would it have killed you to release the rest of the questions?!).

    What seems to me to be the key numbers to watch are those involving independents — as ultimately they are the ones who decide elections. Here are the key numbers for them:

    Think that the danger of default is overstated: 40%
    Thank that it is accurate: 35%

    Recent Pew polling suggests that there has been a significant shift from independents thinking that it is overstated to it currently being all but equal (http://people-press.org/2011/07/14/the-debt-ceiling-showdown-%E2%80%93-where-the-public-stands/)

    If that trend continues, and we see continued escalation in concerns about a default among independents, then the CBS poll suggest that the Republicans have a lot more to be concerned about (even if we don’t default):

    Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction amount independent with:
    Obama: 37/52
    Congressional Dems: 23/66
    Congressional Repubs: 17/73

    Without a doubt, this is in everyone’s best interest (politically) to get resolved ASAP. But it seems that’s doubly the case for Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  9. john personna says:

    @guyinadiner, I’m still registered Republican, but think Obama has the best plan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  10. guyinadiner says:

    @john personna: Obama has a plan? The last “plan” the President put in writing was a FY2012 budget that failed in the Senate last May by a vote of 97-0.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. That Guy says:

    @mattb:

    What seems to me to be the key numbers to watch are those involving independents — as ultimately they are the ones who decide elections.”

    Fair enough:

    Gallup (July 7-10) Independents: 46% oppose raising debt ceiling; 18% in favor…

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/148454/Debt-Ceiling-Increase-Remains-Unpopular-Americans.aspx

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Erich M says:

    http://www.conservativecommune.com/2011/07/the-number-cbs-is-not-trumpeting-in-its-latest-poll/

    CBS poll only included 24% Republicans but CBS got what they wanted: a tool to hit the GOP over the head with and attention from other liberals in the press who pretend to just be “journalists” but have once again exposed themselves as the naked partisans that they are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  13. Michael says:

    A poll of adults, with an 11 point Democrat advantage, could you even pretend to be curious.

    CBS poll only included 24% Republicans but CBS got what they wanted

    Seriously people, learn a thing or two about statistics and polling before spouting off like this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  14. Erich M says:

    Isn’t it infuriating Michael? CBS wanted a pound of gop flesh and to throw Obama a bone. This will be all the media’s talking point tonight…just watch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. john personna says:

    @guyinadiner, the Republicans are playing a dangerous game. They are turning down Obama’s offer of $4T in cuts, telling you there was no offer, and putting together their own plan that will be smaller than $4T. It will probably be $1T or $2T.

    Why would they go lower? Because the Obama plan had a little tax increase.

    The Republicans would rather cut spending less, to avoid taxes.

    So, when does their plan balance the budget? Never. They want you to switch subjects, and attach your attention to the new shiny object, a balanced budget amendment. And they want you to ignore that it will take years to push through.

    So in one move, they’ve reduced the size of the cuts and put off the day of reckoning.

    To call it “kick the can” is to give it too much credit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  16. mattb says:

    @That Guy: Gallups “raw data” is even worse than CBS. I’m admittedly skeptical that Gallup’s independent numbers are so far off Pew’s (and CBS). Unfortunately the PDF they posted is really inadequate.

    One thing that I found interesting in it is that Gallup had apparently broken out “republican leaning independents” (see PDF) — which leads me to wonder if tea-party conservatives were included in their count of Independents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. Michael says:

    Isn’t it infuriating Michael?

    Yes, but my comment was directed to you and narciso, not CBS, who’s pollsters actually understand sampling, demographics and weighting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  18. Eric Florack says:

    @narciso: Not 11%, 24%.

    As I said at my place:

    Morons like Steve Benen have been screaming this morning about a CBS poll suggesting a large swing against the GOP in the handling of the debt ceiling. But Ed Morressey says “not so fast”.… In short…. CBS has been tilting samples again…

    That leaves Republicans with less than 24% representation in a poll that’s supposed to measure national political sentiment.

    Move along, citizen, nothing to see here. Is this what Obama was talking about when he Whine “Don’t call my bluff”? I suspect so. I find Stacy McCain’s comments on the matter agreeable, as well:

    In the most recent election eight months ago, Republicans won a historic landslide and there is no reason to believe now, in mid-July, that Americans have suddenly shifted toward the Democrats. What CBS News did with that poll is as big a lie as RatherGate, and they should be ashamed of themselves for promoting dishonest propaganda while pretending to report the news….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. mattb says:

    @Michael: Could you elaborate on this… as I think I know what you meant, but would love a bit of confirmation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. That Guy says:

    @mattb:

    Worse than a poll- of adults- that gave the D’s an eleven point advantage, and only included 24% Republicans? C’mon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Michael says:

    Basically statisticians assume that strong correlations in their sample continue to be strong correlations in the general population. This means that if 70% of Republicans (self-identified or based on past voting, depends on the survey) in the sample feel a certain way, then 70% of Republicans (by the same criteria) in the general population would feel the same way.

    Using this, they can use a sampling ratio of Democrats and Republicans that is different from the general population, and apply weighting to answers of one side or the other, in order to make up for the difference. In this case, the answers of Republicans respondents would be counted higher than answers of Democratic respondents when calculating the general statistic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. john personna says:

    Forget the polls, when Ross Dauthat says this, you’re toast.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. This is the “Is the country headed in the right direction” problem of polling questions. Both those who feel the country is going too far left and those who feel it is too far right will say “wrong direction.” The poll interpreter doesn’t know how many of each are buried in the number.

    Also, the Democrats have been clear for the last three decades that they are happy to take everyone down with them. Demonising their opponents has contributed to a worsening of the public dialogue, and decreased satisfaction with both parties. But they are happy to lose 5% if they can make the GOP lose 6%. In increasingly-divisive scenarios, they and theirs will do better holding power under 3-party, 4-party, 5-party splits.

    They hate us and they want to keep theirs. That’s the transcending analysis of all national issues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  24. mattb says:

    @Michael: That’s what I thought, but I’m still shaky on some statistical stuff. I also wasn’t quite sure why the weighting wasn’t based on current party identification estimates.

    @That Guy: As Michael mentioned, if this was a sheer popularity issue, then you might have a point. But in terms of looking at specifics viewpoints — especially within a specific subset like independents — the weighted samples mean absolutely nothing. Basic statistics.

    @Assistant Village Idiot:

    Democrats have been clear for the last three decades that they are happy to take everyone down with them. Demonising their opponents has contributed to a worsening of the public dialogue, and decreased satisfaction with both parties.

    Right. And the Democrats have been the only ones demonizing their opponents over the last few decades… *Ring* *Ring* … the Pot is calling, it wants its black back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. emrka says:

    @Michael:

    michael, they are the ones pretending not to be naked partisans, not me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. MM says:

    @Assistant Village Idiot:

    Also, the Democrats have been clear for the last three decades that they are happy to take everyone down with them. Demonising their opponents has contributed to a worsening of the public dialogue, and decreased satisfaction with both parties. But they are happy to lose 5% if they can make the GOP lose 6%. In increasingly-divisive scenarios, they and theirs will do better holding power under 3-party, 4-party, 5-party splits.

    They hate us and they want to keep theirs. That’s the transcending analysis of all national issues.

    I’m close to calling Poe’s law on this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. That Guy says:

    “I’m still shaky on some statistical stuff.”

    So he confesses that he’s shaky on “statistical stuff”, yet somehow he has enough knowledge to declare the “raw data” from the results of a poll that he doesn’t like from a reputable polling firm, “garbage”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. mattb says:

    @That Guy: I’m shaky in terms of being able to explain why the specific weights were being used, and being able to explain why — in terms of internal poling, the 11% weighted difference shouldn’t matter. But in general, I have a stronger grasp on statistical analysis than some of the people on this thread.

    I don’t believe I ever said Gallup was garbage. What I said was, that I didn’t know how they were defining “independents” and was frustrated that they provided even less raw data than CBS.

    The issue here is how is that group being defined/determined. We shouldn’t assume that each poll is defining independents in the same way. This is further complicated by the fact that Gallup’s additional data apparently dealt with “Republican leaning” independents without giving any sense of how many made up the sample.

    My point — at least with Independents — was that you have two polls (the CBS and Pew) which are both showing a general trend of movement and similar numbers, and then you have the Gallup poll which has significantly different results.

    What would be most helpful would be a meta analysis with a few more polls in it — but without that, the first question I’m trying to quickly work through is why the big difference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. Eric Florack says:

    @That Guy:

    from a reputable polling firm,

    Dan Rather.

    Do I really need to explain this one?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Michael says:

    Dan Rather.

    Do I really need to explain this one?

    I don’t believe Dan Rather was involved in CBS’s surveys in any capacity other that reporting on their results. Or should hold an entire media conglomerate equally responsible for the questionable decisions of a few?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. That Guy says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Loud and clear.

    I was referring to Gallup (from an earlier comment).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. anjin-san says:

    and there is no reason to believe now, in mid-July, that Americans have suddenly shifted toward the Democrats.

    No reason at all. The cratering approval numbers of newly minted GOP governors? Nothing to see here folks, move along – quickly now….

    Say bit, what kind of cheese is the moon made of over at “your place”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. narciso says:

    If this was a once off, maybe, but CBS, consistently uses adults, ad overweights th sample with Democrats, not to mention, how they couch the questions. I.e.th President’s last budget
    didn’t garner a single vote, he has offered nothing in the way o real cuts,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. richard40 says:

    As others have said, the problem for repubs might be because many conservative voters think they are compromising too much, not too little. Also, the CBS poll is biased, since their sample included only 25% repubs, when in reality repubs should be abour 35-40%, and possibly more if you filter for likely voters.

    To me a far better poll would be to compare the actual various approaches, and see which polls better:
    1. Do not raise the debt ceiling at all, even if this leads to a gov shutdown. Instead, cut enough spending to balance the budget now.
    2. Raise the debt ceiling, but with enough spending cuts to balance any debt increase, and no tax increases. Some special interest tax breaks can be repealed, but those repeals must be offset with tax cuts elsewhere, so they are revenue neutral.
    3. Do the above, but also require a balanced budget amendment to be included.
    4. Raise the debt ceiling. Include a balanced mixure of spending cuts and revenue increases. The revenue increases should mainly be from repealing special interest tax breaks, like corporate jets and ethano subsidies, without any offsetting tax cuts.
    5. Just pass a clean raising of the debt limit. Then deal with spending cuts later.

    This is a pretty fair representation of the various proposals, in the order of most deficit hawkish to least deficit hawkish. Let the poll responders pick the proposal that most closely represents their views. This would tell us what people actually want, rather than who is best at winning the spin wars.

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  35. Michael says:

    Also, the CBS poll is biased, since their sample included only 25% repubs, when in reality repubs should be abour 35-40%, and possibly more if you filter for likely voters.

    I give up. You ignore reality at your own peril.

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