The good news for Obama? His approval rating in handling the standoff was 46/53 versus 30/68 for congressional Republicans. (Congressional Democrats did slightly better at 35/63.) Imagine how that would have shaken out in terms of blame if we hit the ceiling and the market dropped a thousand points.
The bad news for Obama? It’s very, very bad indeed:
Note the third line. Not only did 65 percent approve of trillions in cuts (theoretical vaporous cuts, to be sure, but still), another 13 percent wanted more. So rattled by that data was lefty WaPo blogger Greg Sargent that he uncorked this post declaring that the GOP is winning the argument over the size of government. Which is true, although (a) 60 percent of those polled say they disapprove of the fact that the deal didn’t hike taxes on business and the rich and (b) given how meager the cuts are compared to the rate at which the debt will grow, you can argue that that 65 percent who approved of the final amount in the deal still don’t quite grasp the magnitude of the problem. And of course, none of the cuts in the first tranche touch entitlements, which is where everyone except the most devout deficit hawks starts to get squeamish. If the Super Committee miraculously reaches a deal to trim Medicare in November, re-poll this question then and let’s see how we do.
The other eye-grabbing number here:
Congress’s approval rating is almost always bad, but 84 percent disapproval is off-the-charts bad. Check the crosstabs and you’ll see that CNN included lots of historical data on this question; until today, since 1974, congressional disapproval never went higher than 78 percent, and rarely has it even reached the 70th percentile. The last time it hit 78, in fact, was during the financial crisis and TARP three years ago and we’re already well past that level of disgust this month. (See this National Journal poll too for similarly gruesome numbers.) It’s tempting to goof on Krugman et al. for overwrought prose about how their faith in democracy is shaken because we’re not going to ride Keynes into our national financial grave, but that’s really the upshot of this poll on both sides of the aisle — virtually no one thinks Congress works anymore, and that feeling will only deepen when, not if, they’re forced to take on Medicare and Social Security. Bad days ahead. I’ll leave you with this quote to mull from Politico’s piece on how freshmen Republicans came around to supporting the deal:
“I think increasingly we feel a part of a body,” says Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.), a freshman ophthalmologist with no prior political experience who defeated a Democrat in a swing district last year. “You don’t know what you don’t know until you arrive here in the Capitol.”