While Republicans are maintaining a hardline stance of no tax increases in the debt ceiling negotiations, a new Gallup poll found that 76% of Republicans along with a majority of all Americans believed that some tax increases may be necessary to reduce the deficit.
According to the new Gallup poll while spending cuts are the preferred choice among Republicans for lowering deficit, only 26% Republicans believe that deficit reduction can be achieved with only cuts in spending. Forty one percent believe that deficit reduction can be achieved with mostly spending cuts, and 24% favor an equal mix of spending cuts and tax increases. This means that almost two thirds of Republicans (65%) understood that some increase in revenue is necessary if the deficit is going to be lowered.
Among Independents, 58% supported a mix of program cuts and tax increases, and surprisingly 23% of Democrats believed that deficit reduction should be done with mostly spending cuts, and another 42% believed that it should be an equal mix of spending cuts and tax increases. Democrats were the group that was most supportive of using mostly tax increases to pay off the debt (12%), followed by Independents (7%), and Republicans (2%).
This poll illustrates how out of step Congressional Republicans are not only with the country at large, but also with their own party members. Republicans prefer that the process of deficit reduction be weighted heavily towards the spending cuts side, but they accept the possibility that some increase in taxes will be required if the US is going to pay down the deficit. Even Democrats tilt more towards using spending cuts (33%) than using tax increases (20%).
Democrats and Independents favored the balanced approach a.k.a. the plan that Obama is offering. Even 24% of Republicans favored a balanced approach to lowering the deficit. This poll provides more evidence that Obama just needs to hold his ground. A majority of Americans across party lines already understand the necessity for increased revenue along with program cuts.
Congressional Republicans are way out in right field on this issue. Obama has the upper hand and the plan that most Americans support. If Republicans keep turning down a debt ceiling deal that includes both tax increases and program cuts, they shouldn’t expect the public to side with them. If this poll is any indication, there could be a sizable number of Republicans upset with their own party if their stubborn stance against any revenue increases leads to a US default.
Rank and file Republicans want to use a mostly spending cuts approach to deal with the deficit, but they aren’t as opposed to some form of a revenue increase as the GOP members of Congress.
It comes down to the fact that most Americans disagree with the GOP members of Congress who want to use only spending cuts to reduce the deficit. The clock is ticking and the pressure is on not Obama, but the GOP, to either get on the same page with a majority of Americans or risk an economic catastrophe.