President Barack Obama met with Senate leaders yesterday to jumpstart stalled budget talks, but do voters nationwide agree with how the president is handling the federal budget deficit?
According to this McClatchy-Marist poll, 61% of voters disapprove of how the president is handling the deficit. Fewer than one-third — 31% — approve, and 8% are unsure.
“President Obama is increasingly focusing on and is the focus of budget negotiations,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Once again, it seems the buck stops in the oval office.”
While a majority of Democrats — 56% — approve of the president’s performance on the issue of the deficit, nearly four in ten — 37% — disapprove, and 8% are unsure. True to party lines, most Republicans — 89% — disapprove of the president’s fiscal management while only 7% approve. Four percent of Republicans are unsure. Among independent voters nationally, 65% disapprove of how the president is dealing with the budget deficit, and 26% approve. Nine percent of independents are unsure.
Voters are also voicing their dissatisfaction over the president’s handling of the economy. In fact, President Obama’s rating on the economy has hit an all-time low. Just 37% of registered voters nationally approve of the way the president is handling the economy while nearly six in ten — 58% — disapprove. Five percent are unsure.
When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in April, 40% gave the president high marks on how he was dealing with the economy while 57% rated his performance as sub-par. Three percent, at the time, were unsure.
However, many voters still don’t blame President Obama for the nation’s current economic conditions. 61% report the president inherited them while 31% think they are the result of his own policies. Nine percent are unsure. Little has changed on this question since McClatchy-Marist’s previous survey. In April, 63% thought the president faced these trying economic conditions when he entered office while 30% said his policies created them. Seven percent, at the time, were unsure.
Majority Supports President’s Handling of War in Afghanistan, But War Viewed as Not Worth Fighting
President Obama scores higher on his handling of the war in Afghanistan than he does on the economy. 53% say they approve of the president’s actions while 39% disapprove. Eight percent are unsure. During the time period this McClatchy-Marist Poll was conducted, the president addressed the nation and shared his plans for withdrawing troops from the region. Did his address influence voters’ views toward his handling of the conflict? It did not. Similar proportions of voters before and after his speech approve of the president’s approach.
But, where do voters stand on bringing the troops home? Only 14% of registered voters think the United States has important work to do in Afghanistan and should keep the number of soldiers deployed at its current level. 38% believe there is still work to be done in Afghanistan, but some of the troops should return home now. However, 43% report the mission in Afghanistan is complete, and the troops should return home now. Five percent are unsure.
A majority of voters — 54% — say that, when thinking about the war’s costs and benefits to the United States, the nearly decade long conflict has not been worth fighting. Four in ten — 40% — disagree and report it has been worth the effort. Six percent are unsure.
While views differ along party lines, even 43% of Republicans don’t think the war has been worth the costs. This compares with 62% of Democrats and 54% of independent voters who share this view.
Obama Receives Mixed Reviews on Libya
Voters divide about how the president is handling the situation in Libya. 44% of voters nationally approve of his methods while 40% disapprove. 16% are unsure. In April, 44% approved, and 46% disapproved. Looking at party, 64% of Democrats approve of the president’s actions, 23% disapprove, and 13% are unsure.
Among Republicans, nearly six ten — 57% — disapprove of how President Obama is handling the situation in Libya. 25% approve, and 18% are unsure. Independent voters divide. 43% disapprove while 41% approve. 16% are unsure.
Overall Approval Rating Stuck in Mid 40’s… Half View President Favorably
So, what does all of this mean for the president’s overall job approval rating? Voters divide. 45% approve of how Mr. Obama is performing in office while 47% disapprove. Eight percent are unsure. In McClatchy-Marist’s April survey, 44% thought highly of how the president was doing in office, 49% disapproved, and 6%, at the time, were unsure.
President Obama continues to struggle with independent voters. A slim majority of these voters — 51% — disapprove of the president’s job performance while 39% approve. 10% are unsure. Little has changed among independent voters since April. At that time, 51% disapproved of the president’s job performance, 42% approved, and 8% were unsure.
When it comes to Mr. Obama’s favorability, half of voters — 50% — think well of him while 44% have a less than stellar impression of him. Six percent are unsure. In April, when 48% had a favorable view of the president, 48% also held an unfavorable impression of Mr. Obama, and 5% were unsure.
Capitol Failures? Many Disapprove of Congressional Democrats and Republicans
President Obama’s job approval rating isn’t the only one that’s struggling. Registered voters are voicing their dissatisfaction with Democrats and Republicans in Congress. 63% say they disapprove of the job Republicans are doing in office while 27% approve. 10% are unsure. There is relatively no change on this question since April. At that time, 63% disapproved of how Republicans in office were doing their job, 30% approved, and 7% were unsure.
Democrats in Congress don’t fare any better. 60% of registered voters give them a thumbs-down while 30% praise the job they are doing. 10% are unsure. In April, 60% disapproved of their job performance, 34% approved, and 6%, at that time, were unsure.
Americans Pessimistic about Nation’s Direction
Nearly six in ten American adults — 59% — report the country is moving in the wrong direction. However, 32% believe it is moving on the right path. Nine percent are unsure. When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in April, 64% thought the nation needed a new compass, 31% believed the country was traveling along the right course, and 5% were unsure.
According to this McClatchy-Marist Poll, many registered voters nationwide are not pleased with how President Barack Obama is handling the federal budget deficit. And, there’s more bad news for the president. President Obama’s job approval rating is stagnating, and his favorability rating isn’t much better. Many voters also view the country as moving in the wrong direction. But, the dissatisfaction isn’t being laid only at the gates of the White House. Most voters disapprove of the job both the Democrats and Republicans are doing in Congress.
“The approval ratings for the president and Congress continue to lag as voters grow increasingly dissatisfied with Washington politics,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Voters are anxious to get things back on track, but the latest round of budget battles has been costly in the realm of public opinion.”
Voters Low on Obama’s Handling of Deficit
President Barack Obama wants to reduce the nation’s deficit by four trillion dollars over a 12 year time frame. But, are registered voters nationally confident in the president’s ability to do so?
According to this McClatchy-Marist Poll, 61% of registered voters nationally disapprove of how the president is handling the federal budget deficit. 34% approve, and only 5% are unsure.
Republicans are the most dissatisfied with how Mr. Obama is tackling the deficit. Most GOP voters — 91% — disapprove of his approach while just 5% approve. Among independent voters, more than two-thirds — 68% — are unhappy with how the president is addressing the issue compared with 28% who approve. And, while 64% of the president’s own party approve of how Mr. Obama is dealing with the deficit, a significant 30% of Democrats would prefer he take on the issue in a different way.
President Obama laid out his plan to deal with the budget deficit last Wednesday. And, while there was a slight bounce in those who approve of how the president is handling the federal deficit after his speech, voters remain pessimistic. Prior to the president’s address at George Washington University, 31% approved of how he is dealing with the deficit compared with 38% who report the same after he outlined his plan.
When it comes to Mr. Obama’s overall job performance, voters remain tepid. Currently, 44% of registered voters approve of how the president is doing in office compared with 49% who disapprove. Six percent are unsure.
In McClatchy-Marist’s January survey, 48% of registered voters thought the president was doing well in office while 43% believed he missed the mark. Nine percent, at the time, were unsure.
Since that previous survey, there has been an increase in the proportion of independent voters who disapprove of the president’s job performance. Currently, a slim majority — 51% — have this view compared with 44% in January.
There has been little change among Republicans. 87% now disapprove of the president’s job performance while 83% did the same in January.
And, while most Democrats — 77% — approve of the president’s job performance, there has been a slight decrease in the proportion who believe this to be the case. Three months ago, 84% of Democrats applauded the president.
Dip in Obama’s Favorability
Voters nationally divide about how much they like President Obama. 48% think well of him while the same proportion — 48% — view him unfavorably. Only 5% are unsure.
When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in January, a majority — 53% — rated Obama favorably while 40% had an unfavorable impression of him. Eight percent, at that time, were unsure.
Independents make the difference on this question. Currently, half — 50% — have a less than stellar impression of Mr. Obama while 45% perceive him positively. In January, 42% had an unfavorable impression of the president while a majority — 53% — had a favorable one.
Direction of Nation Takes Sharp Turn for the Worse
64% of Americans currently think the nation is moving in the wrong direction while just 31% believe it is moving in the right direction. Five percent are unsure. The proportion of voters who perceive the nation as moving in the wrong direction is the largest since November 2007. At that time, 67% shared this view while 23% thought the country was on track. 10% were unsure.
When McClatchy-Marist last reported this question in January, 47% thought the nation was on the wrong path while 41% said it was on the right one. 12% were unsure.
Americans’ increased pessimism crosses party lines. The largest change has occurred among Democrats. 44% currently think the nation is moving in the wrong direction compared with 23% in January. About two-thirds of independents — 67% — now share this view while 51% previously said the same. Most members of the GOP — 82% — report the nation needs to have its course redirected while 72% thought that way in January.
Perceptions of the nation’s status inched up following President Obama’s April 13th speech. Prior to his address, 29% reported the country was on the right path compared with 34% following his speech.
Congressional Democrats and Republicans in Voters’ Doghouse
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress need to step up their game in the eyes of voters. More than six in ten registered voters — 63% — disapprove of the job Republicans in Congress are doing. Three in ten — 30% — approve, and 7% are unsure.
While it’s not surprising that most Democrats — 81% — are dissatisfied with the job of Congressional Republicans, a notable 36% of Republicans are unhappy with how members of their own party are doing on Capitol Hill. About two-thirds of independent voters — 67% — disapprove of Congressional Republicans’ job performance.
It’s a similar story for Congressional Democrats. 60% of voters nationally disapprove of the job Democrats in Congress are doing while 34% approve. Only 6% are unsure.
Here, most Republicans — 91% — disapprove of how Democratic members of Congress are carrying out their responsibilities. A notable 33% of Democrats and more than six in ten independent voters — 62% — share this view.
Reducing Deficit Should Be Top Priority of Congress, Say Voters
Voters want the deficit to be Congress’ main priority. Nearly six in ten voters — 57% — believe Congress should focus on reducing the deficit. 27% report maintaining services and benefits should be the priority of Congress. 14% say cutting taxes should top their “to do” list, and just 2% are unsure.
Little has changed on this question since January. At that time, 53% thought slashing the deficit should be Congress’ main concern while 23% believed their attention should be directed to maintaining services and benefits. Nearly one in five voters — 19% — wanted Congress to concentrate on cutting taxes. Five percent, at the time, were unsure.
Dealing with the Deficit: Voters Weigh the Options
Voters may want Congress to focus on the deficit, but there are certain tradeoffs American voters are and are not willing to make to deal with the federal budget deficit.
- Most voters — 80% — oppose cutting Medicare and Medicaid spending. While most Democrats — 92% — and three in four independent voters — 75% — are against slashing spending on these programs, even more than seven in ten Republicans — 73% — agree.
- About seven in ten registered voters nationally — 69% — oppose raising the federal debt ceiling to deal with the deficit. Republicans — 79% — and independent voters — 74% — are more opposed to this measure than are Democrats — 53%.
- A majority of voters — 54% — are against reducing military spending to ease the nation’s deficit. There is a partisan divide. 65% of Republicans oppose doing so while a majority of Democrats — 53% — support such a move. A majority of independents — 53% — are against cuts to military spending to reduce the federal deficit.
- However, nearly two-thirds of voters — 64% — support increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans, those earning $250,000 or more annually. Here too, partisan politics come into play. Democrats — 83% — and independents — 63% — are the most vocal in their support. A majority of Republicans — 54% — are opposed.
Table: Dealing with the Federal Budget Deficit — Raising the Debt Ceiling
Table: Dealing with the Federal Budget Deficit — Reducing Military Spending
Table: Dealing with the Federal Budget Deficit — Increase Taxes
Budget Shutdown? It Depends on the Circumstances
President Obama and Congress may have reached a tentative budget deal to prevent a government shutdown, but the budget battle is not over. Looking ahead to the next round of budget talks, would registered voters support a government shutdown? 36% would not support such an action under any circumstances. 34% would favor a shutdown if it kept Democrats from increasing the budget deficit, and 23% would support a shutdown if it prevented Republicans from cutting Medicare and Medicaid spending. Seven percent are unsure.
Looking at party, a majority of Republicans — 55% — would favor a shutdown if it stopped Democrats from increasing the deficit. There is no consensus among Democrats. While 42% would favor a shutdown if it kept the Republicans from cutting Medicare and Medicaid spending, an additional 42% would not want a shutdown under any circumstances. Among independent voters, 39% say preventing an increase to the deficit would warrant a shutdown, while 38% would not support a shutdown under any circumstances. 16% report they would favor a shutdown if it kept Republicans from cutting Medicare and Medicaid spending.
President Obama has laid out his plans to deal with the federal budget deficit. Are voters satisfied with how he is handling the issue? Do they approve of his overall job performance? Do they think the nation is headed in the right or wrong direction, and what are their views toward Democrats and Republicans in Congress? Find out in the latest national McClatchy-Marist Poll. To read the full article, click here.
Facing an estimated $10 billion budget deficit for the upcoming fiscal year, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo will detail his plans to close the gap when he presents his budget tomorrow. And, according to this NY1/YNN-Marist Poll, many New York State voters think addressing the deficit is the state’s top priority and have confidence in the governor’s ability to do so.
A plurality of voters — 41% — say reducing the state’s deficit should be the top concern. More than three in ten — 31% – report cutting taxes should be the focus while 27% think maintaining services and benefits should be the priority. Fewer than 1% are unsure.
“New York State voters recognize the importance of addressing the state’s deficit and are confident in Governor Cuomo’s ability to do just that,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
Highlights from this NY1/YNN-Marist Poll:
- While reducing the deficit is the top priority for many voters statewide, party makes a difference. Democrats closely divide. 41% of Democrats see reducing the deficit as priority number one, and 36% place maintaining services and benefits at the top of their list. Among Republicans, although 44% believe the first thing to do is drive down the state’s deficit, 45% of the state’s GOP believe cutting taxes should be the state’s highest priority. 42% of non-enrolled voters want the deficit slashed with nearly 3 in10 placing either cutting taxes or maintaining services and benefits at the top of their list.
- There are regional differences, as well. While 46% of upstate voters say cutting the deficit should be the state’s focus, 45% of those in the suburbs want cutting taxes to be the first item on the agenda, and 43% of voters in New York City want to maintain services and benefits.
- Nearly six in ten voters — 58% — are confident that Governor Cuomo will be able to solve the state’s fiscal crisis. Included here are 9% who have a great deal of confidence in his ability and 49% who have a good amount of trust. Almost three in ten — 28% — don’t have very much confidence in the governor on this issue, and 10% have no confidence at all in his fiscal prowess. Just 4% are unsure.
- More than two-thirds of Democrats statewide — 67% — are confident in the new governor’s ability to tackle the state’s fiscal problems, and even a majority of Republicans — 52% — have, at least, a good amount of confidence in Cuomo. 54% of non-enrolled voters agree.
- Most voters — 68% — do not have confidence in the New York State Legislature to solve the state’s fiscal crisis. Included here are 41% of voters who report they do not have much confidence in it and more than one in four — 27% — who do not have any confidence at all. On the other hand, 23% have a good amount of confidence in the legislature’s ability, and 3% have a great deal of confidence in it. Six percent are unsure.
- 64% of voters want the “millionaire’s tax” to be extended beyond the end of the year to prevent increasing the budget deficit. 33% do not want to extend the surcharge on those who earn an income of a million dollars or more, and only 3% are unsure.
- When it comes to property taxes, nearly seven in ten — 68% — want them capped so they do not rise more than two percent per year. However, 28% do not want them limited because they believe a cap will force local governments to cut services or raise other taxes. Just 3% are unsure.
- Many voters support the tax cap regardless of region. 70% of upstate voters, 67% in the suburbs of New York City, and 66% in New York City would like to see an annual cap on property tax.
- Voters want to make changes to union workers’ pay increases. 42% would like raises based on merit or performance put in place when union contracts come due, and 27% think union workers should receive cost of living increases and nothing more. At opposite extremes, 15% say no raises should be authorized compared with 13% who think union workers should receive the same type of increases they have had in the past.
Table: Top Priority for NYS
Table: Confidence in Governor Andrew Cuomo: Fiscal Crisis
Table: Confidence in State Legislature: Fiscal Crisis
Table: Millionaire’s Tax
Table: Property Tax Cap
Table: Pay Increases for Union Workers
Regardless of the current focus on the Bush-era tax cuts, voters do not want taxes to be the top priority of the next Congress. According to 47% of voters, reducing the deficit should be the first item on their agenda. Maintaining services and benefits is viewed by nearly three in ten voters — 28% — as the key item on the next Congress’ list while 22% think cutting taxes should be their priority. Only 3% are unsure.
Although majorities of Republicans — 55% — and independents — 55% — want Congress to focus on reducing the deficit, a plurality of Democrats — 42% — think they should concentrate on maintaining services and benefits.
There is an age gap on this question. Older voters are much more concerned with cutting the deficit than are those between the ages of 18 to 29. 50% of those 45 and older think Congress should put its energies toward cutting the deficit while 38% of those younger than 30 agree.
Voters to Blame Congress if Decision on Bush-Era Tax Cuts Not Reached
If Congress and President Obama do not reach a final agreement and let the Bush-era tax cuts expire at year’s end, many registered voters nationwide will point a finger at Congress. According to this McClatchy-Marist Poll, 33% say Republicans in Congress will be mostly at fault while 29% say most of the blame rests on Congressional Democrats. About one in five — 19% — will hold President Obama accountable. 10% think all will share in the blame. Nine percent are unsure.
While nearly six in ten Democrats — 58% — will point a finger at Congressional Republicans, fewer than half of Republicans — 47% — will blame the Democrats in Congress. A notable 31% of Republicans will find the president at fault. Among independents, 32% will put the onus on the Republicans in Congress while 30% will blame the Democrats in Congress. 16% will point a finger at the president, and 11% blame all of them.
“Despite the expected passage of the tax cut issue, voters think there’s plenty of blame to go around,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “There are many disgruntled feelings, not the least of which is that Congressional priorities are out of sync with public desires.”
“Same old, Congress,” Say Voters
The new Congress will be seated in January, but how do voters think the current Congress is doing in the wake of this year’s midterm elections? Six in ten voters — 60% — say they are doing about the same. Almost one in five — 19% — think they are doing worse, and 16% report they are doing better. Just 5% are unsure.
And, so it’s probably no surprise, then, that many voters don’t believe Congress has learned a lot from this year’s midterm elections. Looking at Republicans in Congress, nearly four in ten voters — 37% — think Congressional Republicans have learned a little from this year’s midterm elections and an additional 22% believe they have learned nothing at all. 35%, however, say they have learned a lot, and 6% are unsure.
Democrats don’t fare better in the minds of voters. 35% think Congressional Democrats have taken away a little from the elections while 26% take it a step further and report Democrats learned nothing. 35%, though, say they have been enlightened, and 4% are unsure.