Interesting, enough so that it might end up being touted by the GOP leadership at its next presser. Before I go eeyore on you, though, have a look at the numbers:
The good news? Not only are independents heavily weighted towards spending less, even Democrats prefer cuts to tax hikes on balance. Among the overall sample, 50 percent prefer a deal involving only/mostly cuts, 11 percent prefer a deal involving only/mostly new taxes, and 32 percent prefer an equal mix. If you wanted statistical evidence that Americans are finally starting to grasp that we’re out of money, well, there you go. All of which is super — except no one’s seriously proposing a debt-ceiling deal that would involve mostly tax increases or even a 50/50 mix. The only options are the GOP’s cuts-only approach and some sort of compromise comprised mostly of cuts plus several hundred billion in taxes. Viewed that way, per Gallup, there’s just 20 percent support overall for the GOP position and 26 percent support for it among Republicans, a plurality of whom say they’re willing to tolerate some tax increases so long as the bulk of deficit reduction is done with cuts. Moreover, the phrasing of the question here actually benefits the GOP. Everyone supports “cutting spending” in the abstract; even leftists would be happy to break out the shears for, say, a “defense cuts only” package. A more incisive way to ask this question would have been to specify “cuts” as entitlement reform of the sort Paul Ryan and the House GOP are after. How do you think these numbers would fare if, say, the word “Medicare” was tossed in there?
Needless to say, this is why McConnell’s looking for ways to punt the debt-ceiling decision to Obama. If we default and the country really does turn into a Hieronymous Bosch painting economically, the Democratic narrative about which side made it happen by refusing to compromise is ready-made and, given these numbers, may find lots of receptive voters. (Or will it?) Also needless to say, this is why Tom Coburn’s suddenly making noise about rejoining the Gang of Six after quitting the group two months ago. He says he’s sent over some ideas and is waiting to hear back from them; no doubt he figures that, with Congress nearing panic mode, they’ll be more willing to hear him out in the name of compromise than they were before. Remember when Alan Simpson said, “Pray for the Gang of Six”? Well, here they come. Deus ex machina.