The latest NBC/WSJ poll – in which, Americans 2 – 1 oppose raising the debt ceiling – couldn’t have been released at a more opportune time, save for yesterday when I originally posted the article.
Yesterday, I posted an article and video of Chris Matthew’s and Dana Milbank, who were reminiscing about the days when the U.S. was led by a real leader – George W. Bush. Matthews actually plotted a “Presidential Roadmap” that could help Obama to focus on “Regaining the Spark of Leadership.”
The first bullet read, “There will be no negotiating over paying our bills.” However, as I showed yesterday, the American people do not agree with Obama and liberal pundits like Matthews on this issue either. In fact, according to this poll, Democrats have more issues than the debt ceiling to worry about. But we will get there in a second, first NBC reads:
Americans overwhelmingly do not think Congress should raise the nation’s debt limit as President Barack Obama and Congress prepare once again to wage battle over the issue, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
By a 44-22 percent margin, Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling, which again puts the president in the difficult position of needing to make the case for an unpopular policy with a deadline quickly approaching.
The poll results come as the U.S. Treasury Department says the country will reach its debt limit by mid-October. The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates the limit will be reached by Oct. 18, and the U.S. could default by Nov. 5.
“People’s first instinct is how fed up they are with Washington and spending,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the poll with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart. “This is a very difficult issue in terms of public opinion.”
The NBC report makes the point that the last time we had a showdown over the debt ceiling, the debate started with similar numbers — 39/28 against raising the debt limit – but a month later, that number flipped to 31/38. Democrats planned to use Republican opposition to a debt-ceiling increase as an argument for typical GOP irresponsibility. Harry Reid has already called the Republicans “anarchists” for their opposition, but only 22% of the voters agree with that statement. Republicans won’t refuse to raise the debt ceiling — they’d need a balanced budget for that, and we’re years away from one in anyone’s best plan — but the public sentiment gives them a lot more leverage to gain painful concessions from Obama before approving it.
The administration’s latest pivot to the economy yesterday, was called out immediately. In this particular poll, Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy by 52% – 45%. NBC talking head, Chuck Todd says Obama’s not making the case to the American people:
Obama job rating on econ upside down for 5th poll in a row. And now more folks say GOP better than Dems at "dealing with economy"
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) September 13, 2013
The Wall Street Journal opines:
The Republican Party is gaining a public-opinion edge on several key issues ahead of the 2014 elections, as Americans question President Barack Obama‘s leadership on Syria and worry about the country’s overall direction, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows.
Republicans are now rated higher than Democrats on handling the economy and foreign policy, and the GOP’s lead has strengthened on several other issues, including dealing with the federal deficit and ensuring a strong national defense.
On topics such as health care, Democrats have seen their long-standing advantage whittled to lows not seen in years.
The poll also reflected unease over the economy. Just 27% of Americans think the economy will improve over the next year, the lowest since July 2012, while nearly two-thirds think the country is on the wrong track.
The public tilt on several issues in favor of the GOP, particularly among independents, comes as Mr. Obama’s own job-approval rating has hovered around 45% for three months, a tenuous place for a president trying to build support for likely battles with Congress over possible military action in Syria, a proposed overhaul of immigration law and the budget.
Typically, Republicans were seen as more trustworthy on foreign policy, but the Bush years destroyed that. It was masterful how Obama capitalized on such even throughout the 2012 election. But now Democrats have lost the foreign-policy edge they gained over the GOP since George W. Bush and Iraq. Republicans have a 7% lead over Obama now, once again. Their once huge lead on health care, which is also typical, has now dwindled down to 8% from 16%, half of their prior advantage. During the Bush administration, Democrats had an edge of more than 20% on the federal deficit, now Republicans have a double-digit lead there, and have for a few years, generally.
With the debacle on Syria, which Americans disapprove of Obama’s performance by 57% – 28%, and Obama is heading into this budget fight in the weakest position of his presidency. This may be a good time to start reconsidering conservatives’ plan to Defund Obamacare, which you can sign here, but it will take public support for the GOP leadership to have the courage to fight. It typically does.