President Obama starts his second term with a clear upper hand over GOP leaders on issues from guns to immigration that are likely to dominate the year, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds. On the legislation rated most urgent — cutting the budget deficit — even a majority of Republican voters endorse Obama’s approach of seeking tax hikes as well as spending cuts.
The survey underscores the quandary for the GOP as it debates the party’s message in the wake of disappointing losses last November for the White House and in the Senate.
Now just 22% of Americans, nearly a record low, consider themselves Republicans.
Ouch. I’m actually kind of starting to feel bad for the GOP. They can’t even find their usual 27% anymore. And yeah, I’m aware that if Americans think cutting the deficit right now is our most urgent priority over firearms, climate change, and immigration, we need to get that unskewed real damn fast. We’ve got far bigger issues than the GOP brand meltdown here.
There is bipartisan agreement on this: Dealing with the budget deficit is urgent.
That’s a change. When Obama took office in 2009, during a cascading financial crisis, Americans put deficit reduction in the middle of a list of policy goals in a Pew poll. Now it has risen near the top. Seven of 10 Americans (including not only 81% of Republicans but also 65% of Democrats) say it is essential for the president and Congress to enact major deficit legislation this year.
Just 4% say nothing needs to be done within the next few years.
Umm, two-thirds of Democrats say we need a grand bargain this year to reduce the deficit? Eff austerity. We’re taking ourselves out here, guys.