WaPo/ABC poll: Compromise on fiscal cliff — but without cuts

posted at 9:41 am on December 18, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

If you want to see why American politics are so dysfunctional, just take a look at American voters.  In a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, there is a broad consensus that Barack Obama and Republicans should reach a compromise to fix the fiscal cliff.  Only a third believe that Obama has a mandate to insist on his own policies as an exclusive response to the crisis.  And, oh, by the way … spending cuts are unacceptable.

In other news, next week Santa Claus will come to deliver a solution, in partnership with the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny:

Most Americans want President Obama and congressional Republicans to compromise on a budget agreement, though they, too, are unhappy about the options that would avert the “fiscal cliff,” according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The strong support for compromise belies widespread public opposition to big spending cuts that are likely to be part of any deal.

Most Americans oppose slashing spending on Medicaid and the military, as well as raising the age for Medicare eligibility and slowing the increase of Social Security benefits, all of which appear to be on the table in negotiations. Majorities call each of these items “unacceptable.”

Er, what? Do people believe that we can fix the problem by tax hikes alone?  That would at least explain these results, but the answer is no.  Only 4% believe that we can fix the problem with tax hikes alone; only 29% think we can fix it with spending cuts alone.  Almost two-thirds (65%) think we need a combination of both, and a plurality (47%) think we need to cut more spending than raise taxes, while only 41% think we should do both equally and just 10% think we need more tax hikes than spending cuts.

And yet, large majorities oppose reforming the programs that actually drive the deficits that have created the fiscal cliff.   Six in ten oppose raising Medicare eligibility to 67; the same percentage opposes a move to chained CPI to slow down cost-of-living increases.  These are two of the mildest reforms on the table.  Talk about magical thinking.  Where else are we supposed to cut?  Oh, yeah — the Pentagon, whose entire budget only comprises about 65% of the entire annual deficit — and even there, 55% believe further cuts are unacceptable. Every choice of cuts and reform is deemed “unacceptable” by a majority in this poll.

And here’s more magical thinking: despite the incoherence of the electorate on the fiscal cliff, 52% believe it very or somewhat likely that Obama and Boehner will reach a fiscal-cliff deal in time.  That will be true only if they’re more educated on the issues and options we face than the voters are, and it would be almost impossible not to be.


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big spending cuts that are likely to be part of any deal.

As if.

theperfecteconomist on December 18, 2012 at 5:29 PM

WIll the House rubber stamp whatever Boehner agrees to? Is this a done deal?

flicker on December 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Perfect example of why “governing by polls” is a fool’s errand.

Either we wise up to “you can’t have everything you want” and act accordingly – or we’ll be forced to do it when the whole monstrosity collapses under its own weight.

The latter will be uglier and messier than the former.

BD57 on December 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Which is better? Raising taxes or sequestration.

flicker on December 18, 2012 at 5:41 PM

The once freest land is now the stupidest.

Schadenfreude on December 18, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Nation of idiots – blame the parents, the schools, the entire society.

Rome lasted way longer.

Schadenfreude on December 18, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Nation of idiots – blame the parents, the schools, the entire society.

Rome lasted way longer.

Schadenfreude

That’s a bit harsh. Basic human nature is to want to wish hard choices away. It takes maturity to acknowledge that it can’t be done.

What we need are some mature adults …..

BD57 on December 18, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Perfect example of why “governing by polls” is a fool’s errand.
Either we wise up to “you can’t have everything you want” and act accordingly – or we’ll be forced to do it when the whole monstrosity collapses under its own weight.
The latter will be uglier and messier than the former.
BD57 on December 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Do you mean that sometimes you should govern against the “will” of the American people?

Genuine on December 18, 2012 at 6:19 PM

People vote for representatives who are wiser, more knowledgable, or at least more inclined to lead well.

Instead the representatives lead according to their pay sources. Sad.

Did the people just reelect the proponent of the mandatory health care law they purportedly hate?

The people are getting their polled “will” enforced upon them.

flicker on December 18, 2012 at 6:45 PM

I weep for our country..:(

Dire Straits on December 18, 2012 at 6:47 PM

In other words, Americans are idiots and they have the idiot government they voted for, wasn’t there a movie made about this?

clearbluesky on December 18, 2012 at 6:48 PM

I weep for our country..:(

Dire Straits on December 18, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Many do. You are not alone. I am however getting fired up for the fight! ; )

Bmore on December 18, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Many do. You are not alone. I am however getting fired up for the fight! ; )

Bmore on December 18, 2012 at 6:48 PM

I hear you..:)

Dire Straits on December 18, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Just raise taxes on millionaires and cut spending on foreign aid. That’s what the average American wants to solve the budget crisis.

Sure, it would close less than a 1/10th of the budget deficit – even if you pretend for the sake of argument that tax revenues won’t fall from the Laffer curve – but obviously this isn’t something Americans are going to learn any way but the hard way.

You can blame our infotainment media for a substantial majority of Americans being totally unaware that Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Defense are basically the entire budget, and consequently the entire budget deficit (which is now almost half of the entire thing.)

HitNRun on December 18, 2012 at 8:41 PM

If only Palin had run. I’m sure she would have been the one to end medicare, social security and medicaid.

xblade on December 18, 2012 at 1:03 PM

If only fools would stop using strawmen, we could have actual debates about policy and solutions.

besser tot als rot on December 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM

The drooling cretin xblade can’t help it. It has a Palin obsession. At least Palin wasn’t the one berating Obama for Medicare cuts.

ddrintn on December 18, 2012 at 9:17 PM

Oh, give me a break. Romney ran as the guardian of Medicare, against Obama who was going to cut Medicare benefits. He didn’t jump on any damn Third Rail.

ddrintn on December 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM

.
Oh really.
Well, obviously Romney/Ryan got their “messaging” wrong because “Reforming Medicare” is exactly what they got hammered with here in FL 24/7. Ocommie “cut” medicare simply shifting dollars to Hopeycare. Thats not a cut at all.

You are the revisionist on this one.

FlaMurph on December 18, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Yeah, really:

“If the president were to be reelected you’re going to see a $716 billion cut to Medicare,” Romney said. “You’ll have 4 million people who will lose Medicare Advantage. You’ll have hospitals and providers that’ll no longer accept Medicare patients. I’ll restore that $716 billion to Medicare.”

Now let’s see how some of you ‘bots-in-rehab can drag Palin into again.

ddrintn on December 18, 2012 at 9:27 PM

* into IT again

ddrintn on December 18, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Oh, okay. In other words, Americans are stupid. I could’ve looked at the election results and told you that.

Othniel on December 18, 2012 at 9:33 PM

WaPo/ABC poll: Compromise on fiscal cliff — but without cuts

…how fluked up is that?

KOOLAID2 on December 18, 2012 at 10:32 PM

Congressional Republican organization called me asking for a donation to defeat Obama. I told them, “I ain’t giving you a cent until you kick out Bohner.”

shick on December 18, 2012 at 10:53 PM

This is why Obama has no fear about going over the cliff. Too many Americans are ignorant of the massive entitlement and welfare spending problem we have.

gwelf on December 18, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Uninformed voters. Be sure to thank them for helping Obama win re-election by not holding him accountable for 4 years of total failures… that weren’t Obama’s fault… somehow.

Yakko77 on December 18, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Every GOP Congressman should send out a 1-page, large print letter written in very simple language that explains what the GOP has offered and what Obama has offered to help address the deficit issue.

Along with the letter, include a mock bill for the amount that each American family owes as a result of government overspending. Include the amount spent on various entitlement programs and let them see for themselves what things actually cost.

A huge billboard on the wall while waiting in line at the airport informing people how much TSA is costing them in funds and dignity would be epic!

JetBlast on December 19, 2012 at 2:29 AM

This is my first comment posting on ANY SITE since the re-election of “The One” – Jaysus – this country is screwed. Up until this past November 6th, I have always had hope. My first vote, at age 18, was for Gerald Ford and I never missed an election. Through Carter and even Clinton, I kept the hope alive but alas, this country – once “the Shining City on the Hill” is screwed (I’d use a more descriptive word but I am still a lady) I can only be thankful at this point that I never bore children. I would be worried for them indeed. Since the election, I haven’t even been watching any news. I did turn it on finally, only to catch this latest display by the media, over the school shooting. Very sad indeed, but the media sickens me with their voyeurism and preaching. Just how could this country have dropped so low in little over 4 years?

BabysCatz on December 19, 2012 at 4:33 AM

When did the people in this country get so stupid?

SukieTawdry on December 19, 2012 at 10:33 AM

When did the people in this country get so stupid?

SukieTawdry on December 19, 2012 at 10:33 AM

IMHO, 60′s/70′s when the anti-culture responded to the hypocrisy and shallowness of the 50′s culture by throwing everything we held dear out the 2nd-story window.

MelonCollie on December 19, 2012 at 10:44 AM

BabysCatz on December 19, 2012 at 4:33 AM

I too had hope before the election. Now I fear this country is beyond repair short of a miracle. The people wanted what they got and deserve what they’re getting. Nineveh repented within 40 days; we’ve had four years, or even four decades, and still haven’t. Floods, tornados, hurricanes, on top of the attacks and the people carry on like it’s business as usual.

In the End Times, there will be one nation that is the wealthiest in the world, that sits on many waters, the world’s superpower, the financial and goods-purchasing center of the world, with a great voice heard in all nations, to whom the people of all nations will flock, and will say (among other things) that her end will never come. But her end will come in a day, in an hour; and the merchants and the sea captains will mourn because their source of riches is gone.

Gee, I wonder what nation that could be?

flicker on December 19, 2012 at 3:34 PM

only 29% think we can fix it with spending cuts alone.

71% of Americans are factually incorrect.

This isn’t a question of opinion; there are limits on how much taxes can be raised, but the lower limit on spending is zero.

That’s a typical MSM trick: ask a two sided question, of which only the right-leaning answer is even an opinion question.

TallDave on December 21, 2012 at 12:48 PM

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