A new Quinnipiac poll released today found that 67% of those surveyed felt that any deal to raise the debt ceiling should include tax hikes on the rich.
The Quinnipiac poll indicated that a default would be bad news for the GOP. By a margin of 48%-34% voters said that they would blame the Republicans, not Obama if a deal is not reached. More voters considered (45%) Obama’s plan to raise revenue closing loopholes than they thought of it as a tax increase (37%), and Americans still haven’t forgotten about those tax hikes for the wealthy and corporations. Over 2/3 (67%) of those polled thought that the debt ceiling deal should include tax increases on the wealthy and corporations along with spending cuts.
Voters were split on Obama’s job approval rating 47%-46% and they registered strong disapproval of his handling of the economy 56%-38%, but by a margin of 54%-27% they still blame Bush, not Obama for the recession. By a 2-1 split, (49%-24%) Independent voters said Bush was more responsible for the economy than Obama.
While the White House and Republicans are deadlocked in a deficit showdown, voters thought it is more important to reduce unemployment than the deficit, (62%-32%). Respondents also felt that it was more important to reduce unemployment (49%) than reduce government spending (43%).
Personal likability is a big factor is how Obama is politically surviving the rough economy. Seventy one percent of those polled said they personally like the President. Seventy percent of Independents said they personally liked the President, and even Republicans by a margin of 49%-32% said they personally liked Obama.
The bad economy is causing voters to not like his policies (45%-48%), but they personally like the president. This poll highlighted the numerous challenges that Republicans face if they are going to defeat Obama. They are going to have to campaign against Obama’s policies, not Obama the man. The GOP nominee is going to have to change the widely held belief that the economic struggles of the country were caused by George W. Bush and the Republican Party, and if America slips into default they are going to get the brunt of the blame.
The Republican opposition to increases taxes on the wealthy is a powerful symbol to voters. A wide majority of Americans want taxes increased on the rich and corporations, and Republicans are going to have to defend why they feel that the rich should not have to pay more. Even Republicans understand that revenue needs be increased, if the country is going to pay down its debt.
The political landscape of the debt ceiling battle is shaping up as an ugly one for Republicans. Americans want revenue increased. Specifically, they want taxes raised on the rich. The GOP has tried to make the deficit the main issue, but voters would rather they focus on unemployment, and if the country does default, Republicans are going to be blamed.
The GOP has put themselves in a no win situation on the debt ceiling. If they cut a deal and raise taxes, the tea party will go ballistic. If they stick to their principles and force the country into default they will appease their base, but earn the wrath of the electorate at large.
No matter how the debt ceiling battle turns out, Republicans lose. Obama can stand firm and wait the GOP out, and no one should be surprised when Obama campaigns next year on getting the Democrats back in control of all of Congress, so that they can raise taxes on the wealthy by killing the Bush tax cuts.