A new poll finds that while a strong majority want a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” there is strong opposition to many spending cuts that may be included in any agreement between President Obama and Congress.
An ABC News-Washington Post poll released Tuesday shows a majority believe that any deficit-reduction package should include a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts, but people are largely against cuts to the military and to Medicaid.
Opposition to any kind of entitlement reform is particularly pronounced in the poll – 60 percent are against raising the Medicare eligibility age, and 60 percent are against changing the way Social Security benefits are calculated to slow the rate of increase.
The poll’s findings come as Obama made a new fiscal cliff offer Monday that would raise $1.2 trillion in taxes and lift the debt limit for two years. While Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerObamaCare gets new lease on life Ryan picks party over country by pushing healthcare bill The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ohio) rejected the proposal, his office called it “a step in the right direction.”
On entitlements, Obama is offering to change the way inflation is calculated in benefit programs, a move opposed by many liberals. The new method, known as chained consumer price index (CPI), would raise $130 billion more in revenue, but includes a provision to protect the most vulnerable.
The Medicare eligibility age remains a sticking point in the talks, with Democrats saying they won’t budge on raising it.
The ABC News-Washington Post poll’s findings could strengthen Democrats’ hand in negotiations. BoehnerJohn BoehnerObamaCare gets new lease on life Ryan picks party over country by pushing healthcare bill The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE’s latest offer to Obama included higher tax rates on the wealthy, a key GOP concession. But Republicans expect Democrats to match that offer with significant entitlement reforms, which could prove unpopular with the public.
Further complicating Boehner’s negotiating strength, the poll finds more disapprove of congressional Republicans than their Democratic counterparts and are ready to blame the GOP if talks fail.
Seventy percent said they disapprove of the way Republicans are doing their jobs in Congress, compared to 56 percent that disapprove of Democrats in Congress.
Forty-seven percent said they would blame congressional Republicans if the U.S. goes over the “fiscal cliff,” 31 percent would blame Obama, and 18 percent said both would be to blame.
And while 65 percent said they disapprove of the way Republican leaders are handling the “fiscal cliff,” a plurality said they approve of the way Obama is handling them.
In addition, the public views Obama positively – his job approval rating is at 54 percent positive and 42 negative, and pluralities approve of the way he is handling the economy and taxes.
The poll was conducted from Dec. 13-16 and has a 3.5 percentage point margin of error.