GOP worries: How will the public react to deep spending cuts?

Public surveys suggest that most voters do not share the Republicans’ fervor for the deep cuts adopted by the House, or for drastically slashing the power of public-sector unions. And independent voters have historically been averse to displays of political partisanship that have been played out over the last week.

“If Republicans push too far and overreach their mandate, they will be punished by independent voters, just as they were in 1996,” said Mark McKinnon, a Republican strategist who was a senior adviser to President George W. Bush. “Voters said they wanted bold action. They are getting bold action. But Republicans need to be constantly reminded that the last election was a referendum for change, not a referendum for the G.O.P.”…

“I know what I have been hearing from my constituents,” said Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House. “This seeming meanness and disdain — people want us to work together. They want us to solve problems. They want us to create jobs. They want to take care of their families. And I just hope they are watching this, because I don’t think this agenda that I see playing out on the evening news is doing any of that.”