Daniel Doherty

The well-established perception that the United States of America is a center-right nation was obviously challenged during the last election cycle. Many Republicans -- including myself -- believed Governor Mitt Romney would win the presidency for obvious reasons. But that much-hoped-for outcome never materialized. As it turned out, American voters narrowly endorsed the status quo, and now we’re living with the consequences of those political decisions.

But even though Republicans failed to regain the White House in 2012, the president’s so-called “mandate” on (say) tax policy seems immaterial. Take, for example, a recent poll conducted by Rasmussen which shows conclusively that likely voters overwhelmingly oppose any additional tax hikes to fund the United States government -- an idea you might recall was explicitly proposed in writing by the president in his latest budget proposal:

Voters make it quite clear that there’s no need for the federal government to raise taxes. They’d prefer more tax cuts instead but are much more closely divided on that question.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 28% of Likely U.S. Voters think additional tax hikes are needed to fund the federal government. More than twice as many (63%) disagree and feel more taxes are not necessary. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

A plurality (44%) of voters believes additional tax cuts are needed. However, 39% say no more tax cuts are necessary. Seventeen percent (17%) are not sure.

With President Obama this week proposing a budget with $580 billion in new taxes over the next decade, it’s not surprising that there is partisan disagreement over these questions. Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans and 63% of voters not affiliated with either major political party see no need for additional tax hikes. But Democrats are closely divided: 42% think more tax increases are needed, while 47% disagree.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of GOP voters and 45% of unaffiliated voters favor additional tax cuts. Democrats by a 49% to 35% margin are opposed.

Even 47 percent of Democrats think more taxes hikes are unnecessary. Sure seems like someone is out of touch. Meanwhile, the public overwhelmingly supports cutting spending. Remember this poll from last January?

Despite the last-minute “fiscal cliff” dramatics in Washington, D.C., voters aren’t surprised by the outcome. A month ago, most voters said significant spending cuts were unlikely. Voters at that time were looking for a deal to reduce the budget deficit that included more spending cuts than tax hikes, but they expected the finished deal to emphasize tax increases instead.

And yet 62% of voters think that thoughtful spending cuts should be considered in every program of the federal government as the nation searches for solutions to the federal budget crisis. Just 26% disagree, with another 13% undecided.

Generally speaking, these numbers suggest a large percentage of Americans -- indeed a sizeable majority -- (broadly) agree with Republicans on how to solve our lingering budget problems. Now, if we could only convince them to start voting for the party that is actually serious about averting a debt crisis we might be on to something.

Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography