Pew, WaPo/ABC polls show public unimpressed with fiscal-cliff deal

posted at 9:21 am on January 8, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Two polls released today show that few seem terribly impressed by the outcome of the fiscal-cliff pas de deux last week — and even fewer impressed by Republican leadership in the solution.  The better news for John Boehner and the GOP comes from the Washington Post/ABC poll, a rather wry twist that shows just how poorly Republicans performed in the fight.  Barack Obama wins majority approval in both polls, but let’s start with WaPo/ABC:

Americans give a lukewarm response to last week’s agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, albeit with higher marks for the deal to President Obama than to House Speaker John Boehner.

More people in this ABC News/Washington Post poll approve than disapprove of the agreement, but just by a 7-point margin, 45 to 38 percent, with a substantial 17 percent undecided. Moreover, intensity is on the negative side: “Strong” critics of the deal outnumber its strong proponents by 2-1.

At the same time, Obama gets majority approval for his handling of the negotiations, 52-37 percent, while Boehner’s score is reversed – just 31 percent approve of his performance on the cliff talks, while 51 percent disapprove. Boehner’s positive score is up 6 percentage points from a month ago, but remains a broad 21 points behind the president’s.

Among those who favor the agreement, twice as many approve of Obama’s handling of the negotiations than Boehner’s, 86 vs. 43 percent. Indeed, this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that Boehner lacks majority approval for his work on the fiscal cliff talks from any group. And while Obama breaks even on intensity of sentiment, strong approval of Boehner’s performance falls to the single digits.

About the only demographic that shows significant disapproval for Obama in these negotiations is self-described conservatives, at 36/58.  What’s their score for Boehner?  37/49. Obama’s approval rating on negotiations actually rose very little over the month preceding the showdown, going from 49/42 on December 9th to 52/37 on January 6th — so the “victory” didn’t have much impact.

On the deal itself, there wasn’t much enthusiasm in the demos, but there was a little. Democrats approved 66/19, while independents slightly disapproved 40/44.  Those making less than $50K gave it plurality support at 49/33, hardly a ringing endorsement, while the middle class gave it plurality disapproval at 40/46.  The intensity factor leans more toward disapproval overall, the pollster notes:

Still, as noted, strong criticism of the deal surpasses strong support, 25 percent vs. 12 percent. That’s largely because strong disapproval jumps to 50 percent among very conservatives, 45 percent among Republicans and 40 percent among people in the $100,000-plus income bracket.

The second poll comes from Pew, which clearly shows Obama the winner in the fight.  Americans, though, largely see themselves as the losers:

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 3-6 among 1,003 adults, finds that 57% say that Obama got more of what he wanted from the tax legislation while just 20% say Republican leaders got more of what they wanted. And while 48% approve of the way Obama handled the fiscal cliff negotiations only 19% approve of the way GOP leaders handled the negotiations.

Republicans take a particularly sour view of the outcome: just 16% approve of the final legislation, and by a 74% to 11% margin they think Obama got more of what he wanted. Only 40% of Republicans approve of how their party’s leaders handled the negotiations; by comparison, fully 81% of Democrats approve of how Obama handled the negotiations.

Relatively few Americans expect that the tax legislation that resulted from those talks will help people like themselves, the budget deficit, or the national economy. Just three-in-ten Americans say the tax measure will mostly help people like them; 52% say it will mostly hurt. And even when it comes to the budget deficit, 44% say the deal will mostly hurt, while 33% say it will mostly help.

Obama’s win echoes through the demographics, too:

Democrats and independents also say Obama fulfilled more of his goals in the legislation, but by smaller margins – 53% to 26% among Democrats and 55% to 19% among independents.

Overall, 48% approve of how Obama handled the negotiations over the tax legislation, while just 19% approve of the job GOP leaders did hammering out the legislation. While Republicans broadly disapprove of how Obama handled the tax measure (77% disapprove), they give GOP leaders only mixed approval ratings – 40% approve while 45% disapprove.

Just 14% of independents approve of the way Republican leaders handled the fiscal cliff talks while 69% disapprove. Independents are divided over how Obama handled the negotiations (41% approve, 42% disapprove). Democrats overwhelmingly approve of Obama’s handling of the negotiations (81% approve) and disapprove of GOP leaders (79% disapprove).

We’ve heard a lot from Republicans about their increased leverage in the spending debate.  Let’s hope they figure out how to use it.  A few more outcomes like this, and we’ll be on our way to one-party governance in the last two years of Obama’s term.


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A few more outcomes like this, and we’ll be on our way to one-party governance in the last two years of Obama’s term.

It looks and feels to me like we are already there . . . sigh . . .

KickandSwimMom on January 8, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Boehner is far over his head that he’s an embarrassment. So is McConnell, for that matter.

petefrt on January 8, 2013 at 9:27 AM

The second poll comes from Pew, which clearly shows Obama the winner in the fight. Americans, though, largely see themselves as the losers.

Obama wins, Americans lose. What else is new?

Archivarix on January 8, 2013 at 9:28 AM

With the reporting of Pravda and Izvestia, I’m surprised the president doesn’t have 100% approval. The upcoming negotiations are way too important for the country, to allow the sycophant media to not get the details out. Republicans need to start challenging them at every turn. Go on the Sunday shows and keep pushing the fact that Obama has increased spending every year, without a budget, and all Republicans want to do is draw back spending to pre-2009 levels or something.

They need to come up with a plan and work the plan, every single day. If you don’t have the talking points, don’t talk. It’s worked for the Democrats. Get a group of the toughest to offer up for the Sunday shows and don’t give in and don’t allow Pravda and Izvestia to set the narrative. There is only one narrative, the country is spending irresponsibly and it needs to be reigned in soon, before we end up like Greece.

bflat879 on January 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Well, the fiscal cliff doomsayers were right about one thing – no matter the outcome, the GOP is to blame.

Should have voted “Present”.

OldEnglish on January 8, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Branding/Messaging and using the left’s tactics against them. The Rs don’t seem to learn by their mistakes and after 4 yrs., it is way past time.

CoffeeLover on January 8, 2013 at 9:33 AM

Print sixteen or seventeen of those platinum coins and let’s get it over with. She’s done.

levi on January 8, 2013 at 9:42 AM

Ed thinks we don’t have One Party governance. Or, rather, he wants you to believe we don’t.

Dante on January 8, 2013 at 9:44 AM

CoffeeLover on January 8, 2013 at 9:33 AM

They sure don’t, CL.

They need to get out of this-behind closed doors crap too.

bazil9 on January 8, 2013 at 9:45 AM

When you’re losing to a President who “leads from behind” you Should know you’re in trouble.

RADIOONE on January 8, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Because the president is a WINNER, by golly. /

I’m so sick and tired of seeing how much people “approve” of the job this president is doing. It’s frightening. Not to mention sad. I imagine if he and Pelosi and Reid got together and were able to tax anyone over $250,000 at least 50% of their income his ratings would go through the roof. My income is a fraction of that and I still don’t think it’s fair to single out one group and tax them at a higher rate than another. It’s class warfare, and the country appears to gobble it up.

scalleywag on January 8, 2013 at 9:46 AM

There is a lesson here for republicans when the phone rings and it is PPP and they say blah blah blah, do you support Obama? do you support Boehner?

I have received this exact phone call before from PPP. It was targeting Mitch McConnell, and there was hardly any opportunity in the survey to say that I approved of Mitch McConnell on anything specific, the wording was something like:

Is the economy on the right track wrong track? Is congress on the right track wrong track; are democrats/republicans on the right-track-wrong-track; is Mitch McConnel on the right track wrong track? In a pattern that induces selecting “Wrong Track,” and when I said to the interviewer “wrong track on what? abortion? taxes? on what? he said: just pick right-track-wrong-track.


When they call,
don’t refuse, it is a push poll and answer that Boehner is on the right track, because if you don’t the media will use it to tell us that people don’t believe in the republicans old fashioned ideas. Boehner is the speaker now, they are counting on you, the disgruntled, to finish the job for the democrats.

Fleuries on January 8, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Obama’s win echoes through the demographics…

Our failed public education system has created the demographic responsible.

And it continues to do so, reinforcing the demographic and our nation’s destruction as a Republic.

When you employ more and more Marxists, Communists, atheists and anarchists to indoctrinate your children for six to eight hours every day, this is the demographic you get: Marxists, Communists, atheists and anarchists and more who think the USA is “evil” and as a Republic it is “vile”.

I read their dribble every single time I read a public timeline on twitter: it goes on and on and on. The “demographic” responsible for Obama, Pelosi, etc. in public office and applauding them while they’re there are enjoying their delusional rosey hallowed days and nights of coasting along while they really, really hate the rest of us.

Lourdes on January 8, 2013 at 9:49 AM

I don’t know if I care all that much any longer. How often can you show ignorant people the math only to have them dismiss it without losing your will to keep going?

In the face of rock-solid, irrefutable, mathematical proof that Bark is an economic disaster in Manolo Blahniks, a majority of people trotted to the voting booth and pulled the lever for him…again. It’s come to the point that people need to be punched in the teeth to be convinced that yes, getting punched in the teeth really does hurt.

Bishop on January 8, 2013 at 9:52 AM

scalleywag on January 8, 2013 at 9:46 AM

That they do. The middle class loves their class warfare.

It’s what happens after decades of a cultural indoctrination. Look at movies and shows. The rich evil bosses. The evil tycoons. The evil companies. The courageous teacher or coal worker or whatever cog in the machine.

Don’t forget the popular rock music of the last few decades. Working class rock. Bruce Springsteen. Billy Joel. John Mellencamp.

We have been indoctrinated to hate others who have more.

blatantblue on January 8, 2013 at 9:55 AM

But a Pew/ABC poll, just as with those from CNN, MSNBC, etc., will always produce results from among those who frequent their sites and read the information as it’s reported by those sites.

So we really need to start recognizing the results of these polls as being the results of “ABC associated” opinions.

Though I realize that Boehner is not as popular among the GOP voters as Obama is popular among the DNC voters, it’s best to recognize polled results as being what they are: the results of opinions among those who are associated with the polling service/source.

I used to receive a lot of those phone calls from one of the major pollsters, who’d explain to me when they called (and when I’d ask how they got my number) that they “just randomnly call numbers in an area code and prefix in that area code”. The area code and prefix I was in when I received all those calls was billionaire’s row on the beach on a private road behind big gates (no longer live like that but I did at some point in the past).

Point I’m making is that even with polls that are so-called “random” by making those random-calls are not random at all: they target a profile of a person within certain circumstances by way of demographics about how people live with assumed educational levels, income levels, etc.

Lourdes on January 8, 2013 at 9:58 AM

scalleywag on January 8, 2013 at 9:46 AM

That they do. The middle class loves their class warfare.

It’s what happens after decades of a cultural indoctrination. Look at movies and shows. The rich evil bosses. The evil tycoons. The evil companies. The courageous teacher or coal worker or whatever cog in the machine.

Don’t forget the popular rock music of the last few decades. Working class rock. Bruce Springsteen. Billy Joel. John Mellencamp.

We have been indoctrinated to hate others who have more.

blatantblue on January 8, 2013 at 9:55 AM

I agree. Obama, with his life-long lived at private schools, doting grandparents, all the play time he could possibly manipulate by exploiting the social and moral rules…even Obama is essentially all and only all about resentment: “pay your fair share,” and all his class-warfare-resentment-jealousy-destructive mantras and pushes and “I’ll just go around Congress” being another form of “you’re not my father, I can hang out with my friends on the beach all night and you can’t stop me” rhetoric.

He’s a grown-up immature rebellious teen, Obama is. He thinks he’s cool, he tells others who adopt his ways that they’re cool, he throws them parties, he makes sure they know they’re “in with the cool guy”…

Obama is simply the jealous kid who thinks he’s never gotten all the special doting that he is sure he is owed and he expects others to gang with him to “get” whoever it is who is refusing him and them their due.

It’s ganglandia.

Lourdes on January 8, 2013 at 10:03 AM

The poll numbers have nothing at all to do with how republicans did or what they did. They have everything to do with gauging the effectiveness of ProProg propaganda on an ignorant populace.

Discussing the the results of such polling serves the Prog aims by increasing the reach and repetition of the info and quite possibly swaying those susceptible to bandwagon appeals.

All this is a cornucopian feast for Ax and Fiends who will use the response data to yet further refine the messaging for the next ProProgProp initiative.

Prog America. Its such a Brave New World.

ROCnPhilly on January 8, 2013 at 10:08 AM

I think the person and party counts for a lot more in these polls than substance, with Democrats giving high approval to anything Obama does. Otherwise, there should be a significant amount of disapproval from a constituency that had been told that $250,000 in earnings was the definition of rich, a group on which taxes must be raised.

Even with something like gay marriage, which is at the core of personal beliefs, opinion has shifted in the black community as Obama has “evolved.”

bobs1196 on January 8, 2013 at 10:14 AM

The public?! Who?

Cleombrotus on January 8, 2013 at 10:19 AM

They need to get out of this-behind closed doors crap too.

bazil9 on January 8, 2013 at 9:45 AM

I agree 100%

KCB on January 8, 2013 at 10:22 AM

A few more outcomes like this, and we’ll be on our way to one-party governance in the last two years of Obama’s term.

that would sadden me to no end.

sesquipedalian on January 8, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Maybe after the people get their 1st pay checks this year and find their taxes went up, they’ll have a different opinion of dear leader. That last paragraph is scary. It shows us we may have 2 years left of our country and the time we need to get stuff to see us through the Zeropocalapse. This will be the time the libs get the 22nd repealed.

Kissmygrits on January 8, 2013 at 11:00 AM

I think we should unskew these polls and add R+20. Then Boehner will looks much better./

sauldalinsky on January 8, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Nobody likes a crybaby.

trigon on January 8, 2013 at 11:18 AM

We’ve heard a lot from Republicans about their increased leverage in the spending debate. Let’s hope they figure out how to use it.

Hilarious.

Tim_CA on January 8, 2013 at 11:19 AM

A few more outcomes like this, and we’ll be on our way to one-party governance in the last two years of Obama’s term.

Pfffft. We’ve been there for years now.

ddrintn on January 8, 2013 at 11:35 AM

All Kids Left Behind…cause Obama so ‘loves’ them.

Schadenfreude on January 8, 2013 at 1:59 PM

We’ve heard a lot from Republicans about their increased leverage in the spending debate. Let’s hope they figure out how to use it. A few more outcomes like this, and we’ll be on our way to one-party governance in the last two years of Obama’s term.

What works is conservatism.
1994 and Contract with America Conservatism won big.
2000 and compassionate Conservatism won all three branches of elected government.
2010 Tea Party Conservatism won big time we had historical gains in every type of election.

Well now the STUPID PARTY has gone back to being Establishment, even though it loses every single time it is tried. We either go conservative or we lose period.

No idea how the clowns in the House think letting the Democrats railroad them is a good idea. Can they not even hear? Obama told them you get nothing for that.

Yet they stupidly persist in doing what never ever works.

Steveangell on January 8, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Before the last election, I thought polls were skewed to the left. I thought that — clung to that — because the truth was too awful to consider: We are a nation of sheep, easily manipulated by state media propagandists. I have since come to accept that awful truth. This country’s problem isn’t its politicians; it is the people themselves. Hitler wasn’t responsible for the Holocaust; the German people were. Americans are no longer choosing freedom, and probably won’t for a long, long time. Those of us who do will be increasingly painted by the propagandists as nutjobs, wackos, and extremists. And it will work. Liberty. Keeping what you earn. Finding the theft of your own money, of your children’s money, immoral. Holding politicians accountable. Clinging to the Constitution as if it matters. Those are all extremist positions now, not just in the opinion of the democrat party and its state media propagandists, but in the opinion of a growing majority of Americans. Think of the hell this country is going to have to go through before the lesson is learned — again — that fascism sucks…still.

Oh well, at least my children’s children are likely to live through a period of broad expansion of individual liberty and strong rejection of the fascist state. The pendulum. It swings.

Rational Thought on January 8, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Before the last election, I thought polls were skewed to the left. I thought that — clung to that — because the truth was too awful to consider: We are a nation of sheep, easily manipulated by state media propagandists. I have since come to accept that awful truth. This country’s problem isn’t its politicians; it is the people themselves. Hitler wasn’t responsible for the Holocaust; the German people were. Americans are no longer choosing freedom, and probably won’t for a long, long time. Those of us who do will be increasingly painted by the propagandists as nutjobs, wackos, and extremists. And it will work. Liberty. Keeping what you earn. Finding the theft of your own money, of your children’s money, immoral. Holding politicians accountable. Clinging to the Constitution as if it matters. Those are all extremist positions now, not just in the opinion of the democrat party and its state media propagandists, but in the opinion of a growing majority of Americans. Think of the hell this country is going to have to go through before the lesson is learned — again — that fascism sucks…still.

Oh well, at least my children’s children are likely to live through a period of broad expansion of individual liberty and strong rejection of the fascist state. The pendulum. It swings.

Rational Thought on January 8, 2013 at 4:26 PM

…that’s ^ why I like to go over the threads at night…I may comment periodically during the day but it is hit and run…this is what I enjoy.

KOOLAID2 on January 8, 2013 at 9:29 PM

To expect a “Me-Too”, Moderate Republican to really do any good in the negotiations with the left, liberal Democrats is like wishing on a star, you state your wish, realize it won’t come true and then go on with your life. Now they are going to turn the negotiations over to Mitch McConnell? Do they really think we are that stupid that we believe he will do any better? Oh, yes, they are.

Time for a new party with principled, truly conservative leadership

georgeofthedesert on January 9, 2013 at 10:44 AM