Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 27, 2011

Republicans More Upset Over Debt Deal Than Democrats

Republicans more upset with debt ceiling deal than Democrats

Despite the sentiment that the deal struck to raise the debt ceiling deal was a victory for the GOP, Republicans are more upset about the deal than Democrats, according to polling done by Gallup the night that the deal was signed into law.

In general, a plurality of Americans dislikes the deal, with 46 percent saying they disapprove and 39 percent saying they approve. Democrats are generally in favor of the bill, with 58 percent approving and just 28 percent disapproving. Republicans, disapprove by the similar margins, with 64 percent saying they dislike the bill and 25 percent saying they approve of it. Independent sentiment is closer to that of Republicans, with 50 percent disapproving of the deal and 33 percent approving.

The numbers may seem surprising given the storyline that the Republicans were the victors in negotiations. As The Washington Post’s 2Chambers blog reported, “as the bigger picture goes, the advantage goes to the Republicans, who will have for the first time transformed a routine vote to raise the federal borrowing limit into an opportunity to deliver on their pledge to reduce the size of government.” But the numbers are very much in line with the polling going into the deal.

A CNN/ORC poll released Monday, after the plan had been introduced, but before it was passed by the House, found that a majority — 52 percent — of the public disapproved of the agreement based on what they knew of it, and just 44 percent approved. Opinion diverged sharply among partisan lines, with 63 percent of Democrats approving, while 58 percent of Republicans disapproved. The poll found independents to be very much in the Republican camp, with 62 percent disapproving of the agreement.

In the aftermath, half of the public sees the negotiations as having accomplished next to nothing, either for good or for bad, calling the agreement neither a step forward nor a step backward. Of the other half, 20 percent called it a step forward, and 22 percent called it a step backward. Again, Democrats are somewhat more inclined to say that the deal was a step forward, with 30 percent calling it progress and 14 percent saying it was a step backward. By virtually identical margins, 28 percent to 15 percent, more Republicans called it a step backwards.

Americans are also pessimistic about the impact the agreement will have on the economy. A plurality — 41 percent — said the deal would make the economy worse, and 33 percent said it would have no effect. Just 17 percent said it would make the economy better. (INFIGHTING: Palin: ‘I do not have respect’ for Romney’s debt-deal performance)
Republicans have the least favorable view of the agreement, with 49 percent saying it would make things worse and 37 percent saying it would do nothing. Independents also lean toward this view. Even Democrats are evenly split on the possible outcomes. 33 percent said it would make the economy worse, 29 percent better, and 32 percent said it would have no effect.

Americans were more optimistic when the CNN/ORC poll was taken. 49 percent said the agreement would be good for the economy, and 42 percent said it would be bad for the economy. The public seems to have not shifted to a negative outlook until after the bill was passed. It should be noted that the CNN/ORC poll did not give the respondents the option of saying the agreement would have no effect.

The Gallup poll is based on telephone interviews with 1,012 adults, nationwide, on August 2. The CNN/ORC poll was based on a sample of 860 adults interviewed by telephone on August 1.

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