Worth Discussing

Resurgent Roundup: Why President Obama Wants a Budget Mulligan

Resurgent Republic | April 18, 2011

In Resurgent Republic’s March survey, voters disapproved of President Obama’s handling of the budget and deficit by 55 to 40 percent, including 64 to 31 percent among Independents.  Recent public polling by Pew Research and NBC/Wall Street Journal finds similar warning signs.

Our January analysis regarding President Obama’s standing with Independent voters remains true today. Based upon our State of the Union dial test and focus group discussion in Columbus, Ohio, we said at the time “…before any sustainable comeback among Independents is achieved, those swing voters will want to see a tangible policy shift implemented.”

It is too early to tell whether the White House’s most recent effort to reset the budget debate will be more successful than previous attempts. What is certain, however, is that President Obama has yet to win back the center and his job approval boost from earlier this year has been squandered.

Political Climate

  • In an all-time high since President Obama took office, nearly 7 in 10 Americans (69 percent) say the country is on the wrong track, a five-point increase from the previous high in March. Just one-quarter of Americans (25 percent) think the country is headed in the right direction. (Ipsos/Reuters, 4/7-10/11)

  • According to the Pew Research Center, Americans think economic recovery is a long way off. A majority of Americans (54 percent) thinks that it will be a substantial amount of time before the economy recovers, a 12-point increase since February. (Pew, 03/30/11-04/03/11)

  • Gallup’s March average finds that only 33 percent of Americans think the economy is getting better. This figure has dropped eight points since January. (Gallup, 03/25-27/11)

  • Americans place more trust in Republican leaders in Congress to do the right thing for the economy than Democratic leaders in Congress. Forty-four (44) percent of Americans think Republican leaders in Congress will do the right thing, up from 38 percent in 2009. This is compared with 41 percent who think Democratic leaders in Congress will do the right thing for the economy, down from 51 percent in 2009. (Gallup, 04/07-11/11)

  • In dealing with the federal deficit, more Americans trust Republicans over Democrats. By 33 to 21 percent, Americans believe Republicans are better able to reduce the federal deficit than Democrats, according to the most recent NBC/WSJ poll. Also Pew Research found that 46 percent of Americans trust Republicans to lower the deficit, while 34 percent favor Democrats.

  • Independents align with Republicans in saying the government has too much power. Solid majorities of Republicans (75 percent) and Independents (67 percent) believe the government has too much power. In addition, 26 percent of Independents say the government has the right amount of power and 4 percent say not enough. Only one-third of Democrats (34 percent) believe the government has too much power. (Gallup, 03/25-27/11)

Obama Approval

  • President Obama’s job approval rating dropped to 41 percent, tying an all time low in a Gallup poll. Only 35 percent of Independents approve of his job performance, down 9 points from his 2011 average to date. The latest overall rating matches President Obama’s standing among voters last October shortly before the mid-term elections. (Gallup, 4/14/2011)

  • Ipsos/Reuters finds President Obama remains upside down among Independents.  By 53 to 37 percent, Independents disapprove of President Obama’s job performance, unchanged from his March rating. (Ipsos/Reuters, 4/7-10/11)

  • A Fox News poll finds that voters disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy.  By 55 to 41 percent voters disapprove of President Obama’s policies regarding job creation. On the economy overall, voters disapprove 57 to 40 percent. In addition, more voters believe the Obama Administration’s policies have hurt the economy (34 percent) than helped (28 percent). (Fox News, 4/3-5/11)

  • By 53 to 35 percent, Americans disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the budget deficit, according to a Pew Research Center Poll. (Pew 03/30/11-04/03/11)

  • 63 percent of Americans say President Obama has given the federal budget deficit too little attention, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Less than 3 in 10 Americans say the president has given the federal budget deficit the right amount of attention. (NBC/WSJ, 03/31/11-04/04/11)

Fiscal Issues

  • 62 percent of Americans approve of the federal budget agreement that cut nearly $40 billion in spending over the remainder of FY 2011. (Gallup, 04/11/11)

  • A Gallup poll finds that Independents reject redistributing wealth through imposing heavy taxes on the rich. A majority of Independents (53 percent) rejects the idea, with 43 percent in favor. (Gallup, 04/07-11/11)

  • There is widespread discontent with the federal tax code.  Two thirds (65 percent) of voters say the federal tax code needs “major” changes.  Only 30 percent say the tax code needs modest changes (18 percent) or a “minor adjustment” (12 percent). (The Tarrance Group/Bankrupting America, 04/04/11)

  • Although 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax, voters perceive the percentage to be much smaller.  A majority (53 percent) says the percentage paying no income tax is 40 percent or less, with 42 percent of those saying the percentage paying no income tax is 30 percent or less. (The Tarrance Group/Bankrupting America, 04/04/11)

  • Among partisan groups, Independents are more likely to identify the federal budget deficit and debt as the most important problem facing the country: Independents (21 percent), Republicans (20 percent), and Democrats (9 percent). (Gallup, 04/07-11/11)


  • 83 percent of Americans believe rising gas prices are not an isolated occurrence and will continue for some time. (NBC/WSJ, 03/31/11-04/04/11)

  • Rising gas prices are causing individuals and families to adjust their budgets. Two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) have cut back on other expenses, 62 percent have cut back on the amount of driving, and 45 percent have altered vacation plans in order to stay closer to home. (Ipsos/Reuters, 4/7-10/11)

  • A majority of Americans (58 percent) thinks nuclear power plants in the United States are safe. (Gallup, 3/25-27/11)

National Security

  • Two-thirds of Americans approve of President Obama’s decision to keep open the prison at Guantanamo Bay for terrorist subjects. Those who strongly approve of the White House’s policy reversal outnumber those who strongly disapprove, 39 to 15 percent. (NBC/WSJ, 03/31/11-04/04/11)

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Filed under: Free Market Economy, National Security, Energy And Environment, Obama Approval Rating, News, Spending And Debt, Social Security, Resurgent Round Up, and Balanced Budget Amendment