Yesterday I pondered whether the debt agreement would be popular with the public. I’ve only seen one poll today, so we need more corroborating data for sound conclusions. But a new poll from CNN shows the debt limit deal is unpopular…with Republicans, independents and conservatives. But contrary to what pundits are saying, Democrats, liberals and moderates seem fairly happy with the deal.*
Three things stand out to me. First, there’s the so-called independent voters (who in this sample, based on the margin of error in the crosstabs, probably lean Republican). The independents don’t think the debt limit should have been raised, they think government should cut spending, they think the rich should be taxed, they think Obama didn’t give up enough while simultaneously thinking the Republicans didn’t give up enough, they disapprove of how Obama handled the debt negotiations, they disapprove much more strongly of how the Republicans handled the negotiations, they hate the deal…but they believe it will be good for the economy.
Next, the approval of the Congressional Democrats and Republicans. 66% of Democrats approved of how Congressional Democrats handled the negotiations, as did 56% of liberals. But only 59% of Republicans approved of the way Congressional Republicans handled the negotiations, and conservatives disapproved of the Congressional Republicans, 54% to 45%.
Finally, according to most of the pundits I’ve read, liberals and Democrats hate this deal. Again, this is only one poll with questionable sampling and questions, but it is evidence. And this evidence suggests the pundits are—shockingly!—wrong.
As you can see, liberals are split on the agreement, with a narrow majority favoring it, but Democrats—underscoring that they’re not the same—approve of the deal by an almost two-to-one margin. On the other side, Republicans and conservatives do not like this deal, and the tea party lovers absolutely hate it.
We need more (and better) polling before we can draw sound conclusions, but the first glance suggests, as is usually the case, that the people upset with their party are not Democrats and liberals as much as Republicans and conservatives…and now, probably, Tea Partiers as well. And that means that while there may be some validity to the notion that this deal leaves Democrats and liberals feeling deflated, the damage to the base appears more severe on the Republican side.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled “it’s all doom and gloom for the Democrats” programming.
*I’m going against one of my principles in posting this poll. I detest media outlets that release polls that don’t include demographic data about their sample. This poll doesn’t include breakdowns on sex, race, partisanship, ideology and the rest. But looking at the margin of error for each subgroup, it seems evident that it’s skewed male and conservative, it’s skewed heavily toward older voters, and the independents are probably heavily Republican-leaning. But again, without knowing the demographics, we need to be wary of investing too much in this one poll.