Power Centers

Poll: Most Voters Cool On Debt-Ceiling Deal

Pity the poor debt-ceiling deal, disliked inside Washington and evidently just as unloved well beyond the nation's capital.

A Gallup/USA Today poll found 46 percent of respondents saying they opposed the deal compared with 39 percent who were in favor.

It's worth noting that most of the respondents agreed with experts who say the legislation President Obama signed into law Tuesday will have little to no effect on the national debt.

As Gallup reported:

Americans are quite pessimistic that the debt ceiling agreement will have a positive impact on the United States' debt situation. Twenty percent view it as a "step forward" in addressing the situation, while roughly the same percentage, 22%, say it is a "step backward." Half think it will have little impact, describing it as neither a step forward nor a step backward.

If that's the case, what was all the fuss about?

Susan Page of USA Today has a report on the poll in which she quotes an expert who seems to be saying that voters recognize a "Satan sandwich" when they see one.

"Most people assume that whatever came out of this horrible process was pretty crappy," says Joseph White, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland who studies budget policy.

Based on the results of this poll, it's unlikely we'll be seeing any campaign ads extolling the debt-ceiling deal itself.

It would make more sense for either Democrats or Republicans to come at it obliquely, to use the deal to symbolize values they want voters to associate with them.

Conservatives, for instance, can say it represents their commitment to shaving deficits and holding the line on taxes.

President Obama and Democrats can use it to underscore their determination to protect the social safety net.

But citing the deal itself as positive in its own right apparently would be at odds with the view held by many voters.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: