Good news for the White House: the gap between those who oppose a debt-ceiling increase at all narrowed over the past two months. Bad news for the White House: opposition is still almost 2-1 in the latest Gallup to the debt-ceiling hike for which Obama has gone on a national campaign. The gap shrunk from 28% to 20%, with slightly over a third of Americans saying that they don’t know enough to decide:
Despite agreement among leaders of both sides of the political aisle in Washington that raising the U.S. debt ceiling is necessary, more Americans want their member of Congress to vote against such a bill than for it, 42% vs. 22%, while one-third are unsure. This 20-percentage-point edge in opposition to raising the debt ceiling in Gallup’s July 7-10 poll is slightly less than the 28-point lead (47% vs. 19%) seen in May.
Here’s the second paragraph from Gallup. Might they have taken Barack Obama’s poll analysis a little too seriously? You be the judge:
This measure reflects public opinion about raising the debt ceiling in the abstract. The question wording did not mention the rationales for or against raising the debt ceiling, nor did it explain that any such move would ultimately be a part of a broader budget bill involving spending cuts and perhaps tax increases.
Remember, Obama scolded CBS’ Chip Reid for push polling by asking the obviously biased question in the CBS poll, “Should the debt ceiling be raised?” Gallup’s question would probably send Obama into orbit: “From what you know or have read about the discussion of raising the debt ceiling, would you want your member of Congress to — [vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling, vote against raising the debt ceiling] — or don’t you know enough to say?” I’m pretty sure that’s a great example of push polling, right there, because Obama says any result that disfavors his position must be part of some plot, and stuff.
The campaign over the last two months hasn’t had a measurable impact; the splits are roughly the same. Republicans opposing the debt-ceiling hike dropped ten points, but only three points shifted to supporting the hike (11/60 now, was 8/70) with the rest falling into the “don’t know enough” category. Independents have barely budged from their more than 2-1 opposition (18/46 now, 15/46 in May). Democrats remain mainly unconvinced, too, with just a 39/21 split favoring Obama’s position.
In case that wasn’t bad enough, Gallup recalculated its results to include only those paying very close attention — and a majority of those respondents oppose raising the debt ceiling 53/37. By almost the same margin, respondents in this category are more worried about raising the debt ceiling without getting “major spending cuts” than they are about an economic crisis resulting from a failure to raise the ceiling (56/34).
I guess these people aren’t paying attention attention.
Pushing such an unpopular position has taken its toll on Obama’s standing, Politico reports:
The prickly, political back-and-forth over raising the nation’s debt ceiling is demoralizing consumers, analysts suggest, and threatening President’s Barack Obama’s bid for a second term. …
According to surveys and economists, this harsh reality feeds consumer anxiety, stunting the recovery and — in a boost to Republicans — undermining faith in Obama’s handling of the economy.
Voters have not returned an incumbent party to the Oval Office with the Consumer Confidence Index below 100. Released by the nonprofit Conference Board since 1967, the monthly index dropped 3.2 points to 58.5 in June.
Voters made it clear in 2010 that they wanted the debt and deficit issues addressed through spending cuts, not more borrowing. Demanding a tax hike in exchange for an extension on his credit limit puts Obama in just about the worst political position possible in this environment.