Americans are increasingly taking President Barack Obama’s side in the battle over the federal budget, according to a new national poll.
But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also indicates that fewer than four in 10 agree with the president when it comes to raising the nation’s debt ceiling. The poll’s Thursday morning release comes just a few hours before Republican and Democratic congressional leaders join Vice President Joe Biden for a bipartisan meeting on the budget.
Half of the people questioned in the poll say they prefer Obama’s approach to the budget over the proposals from congressional Republicans, with 42% saying they prefer the GOP approach.
“That’s a switch from March, a when a plurality favored the Republicans,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “The numbers are virtually the same on Medicare, with 49% saying they prefer the president’s approach compared to four in 10 who favor the GOP proposals on Medicare.”
House Republicans say that their budget, put together by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the Budget Committee chairman, will save Medicare and keep it secure for future retirees. Democrats say the opposite is true, that the GOP plan will end the entitlement program in its current form and force seniors to pay much more for their health care coverage.
The House passed the Republican plan last month, but it faces serious opposition in the Democratically controlled Senate.
The poll indicates that 60% of the public opposes raising the debt ceiling.
“One reason may be that while many Americans predict major problems if the debt ceiling were not increased, only one in six think it would create a crisis in the U.S. And only a quarter think that the debt ceiling affects their personal financial situation a great deal,” says Holland.
But according to the survey, the president has one advantage: Roughly half say that he has acted responsibly in discussions with the GOP on the debt ceiling, compared to only a third who think that the Republicans in Congress have acted responsibly on this issue.