A new poll shows that 46 percent of Americans oppose, and 39 percent favor, the Budget Control Act, the new debt limit and deficit reduction law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama this week.
The poll was conducted Tuesday night by USA Today/Gallup, after the law was passed by both houses of Congress. Support of the law was split along partisan and ideological lines with Democrats and liberals showing the most support and Republicans and conservatives showing the least support.
Fifty-eight percent of Democrats and 51 percent of liberals approved of the law while 50 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of conservatives disapproved of the law. This is surprising considering that Democrats and liberals in the media generally acknowledge that Republicans got more of what they wanted in the agreement than Democrats.
Independents, those who do not identify with either political party, were more likely to disapprove (50 percent) than approve (33 percent). Those who consider themselves ideologically “moderate” were more likely to approve (48 percent) than disapprove (32 percent).
Respondents were also asked if they consider the agreement “a step forward, a step backward, or neither in terms of addressing the federal debt situation?” The most common answer by far (50 percent) was “neither,” regardless of party affiliation or political party. This is in stark contrast to messages heard from President Obama and congressional leaders of both parties who have all declared the legislation to be a step in the right direction.
The poll also showed Americans are pessimistic about the effect the Budget Control Act will have on the economy. Gallup asked if the agreement will “make the economy better, not have much effect, or will it make the economy worse.”
Among all Americans, a plurality (41 percent) said it will make the economy worse. Republicans and conservatives were the most pessimistic, with 49 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of conservatives saying it will make the economy worse. Only eight percent of Republicans and 10 percent of conservatives said it will make the economy better.
Democrats were the most optimistic group, with 29 percent saying it will make the economy better, while one-third of Democrats said the law will make the economy worse and another one-third said it will have no effect.
The Budget Control Act raises the debt ceiling and cuts spending by nearly $1 trillion. It also sets up a joint committee of Congress to craft a bill that reduces budget deficits by around $1.5 trillion.
The poll is based upon telephone interviews with 1,012 adults and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.