Poll: Americans Narrowly Trust Democrats on the Budget...But Widely Prefer GOP Proposals

Guy Benson

3/19/2013 12:19:00 PM - Guy Benson

Such is the state of the Republican Party's wheezing brand: Even when voters support their ideas by large margins, they still think they side with Democrats.  Via The Hill:
 

More voters trust the Democratic Party than the Republican Party on budgetary issues, according to the results of a new poll for The Hill — even though a strong majority actually prefer Republican fiscal policies. Respondents in The Hill Poll were asked to choose which of two approaches they would prefer on the budget, but the question’s phrasing included no cues as to which party advocated for which option. Presented in that way, 55 percent of likely voters opted for a plan that would slash $5 trillion in government spending, provide for no additional tax revenue and balance the budget within 10 years — in essence, the path recommended by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week. This was almost twice as many voters as opted for a proposal that would include $1 trillion in added tax revenue as well as $100 billion in infrastructure spending, and which would reduce the deficit without eradicating it. Only 28 percent of voters preferred this option, which reflects the proposal put forth by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last week. An even stronger majority of respondents, 65 percent, said U.S. budget deficits should be reduced mostly by cutting spending rather than by raising taxes. Just 24 percent said the budget should be balanced mostly by increasing revenue.
 

That's a two-to-one advantage for the Ryan Budget over the Reid/Murray plan; garnering 55 and 28 percent support, respectively.  An even smaller percentage back Democrats' tax-heavy emphasis.  The Senate proposal -- which never balances -- hikes taxes by $1.5 trillion, yet only achieves $700-$800 billion in deficit reduction over ten years, while accelerating spending beyond the unsustainable current baseline.  And yet...
 

As soon as respondents heard the words “Republican” and “Democrat,” the picture changed drastically. A plurality of voters, 35 percent, said they trust the Democrats more on budgetary issues, while 30 percent said they trust the Republicans more. A full 34 percent said they trust neither party.


Simply adding party identifiers results in major shift from strong backing for the conservative plan to a virtual three-way tie among the two parties and none of the above.  The good news for Republicans is that the public is ready to embrace a budget that dramatically reduces spending, doesn't raise taxes, and achieves balance within a decade.  Better still, now that Democrats have finally been forced to abandon their cynical budget abdication strategy, the American people finally have the change to weigh two competing ideas.  It's no longer just the endlessly-demagogued Republican plan versus nothing.  And surprise, surprise: A super majority of Americans rejects Democrats' unbalanced, tax-and-spend binge.  When it comes to responsible, restrained, pro-growth economic policies, Republicans are the only game in town.  On a policy level, this is encouraging.  The bad news is entirely political.  The GOP's tattered image remains a huge impediment to policy success, as many voters edge away from Republican policies they support in principle as soon as they hear it's branded with a scarlet R.  Even if one is inclined to dissent from some of the remedies prescribed in the RNC's post election self-assessment, it's achingly clear that a messaging and perception face-lift is in order.  The House Republican budget is scheduled for debate and a floor vote tomorrow.  The Senate is tangled up in a CR and budget amendment vote-a-rama that may last all week.  I caught up with House Budget Committee Vice Chair Tom Price at CPAC for a discussion about the two parties' clashing budgets.  The Georgia Congressman and medical doctor mounted a defense of Republican's fiscal vision, and contrasted it with the Senate's proposal:

 


House Democrats, incidentally, put forward their own budget yesterday.  It would raise taxes by $1.2 trillion, hikes revenues more than it would cut (rightly excluding the Budget Control Act savings passed in 2011), and doubles the Senate version's new "stimulus" tab to $200 billion.  Though it increases spending even more than Senate's version, both Democratic plans largely ignore entitlement reform, speeding the collapse of the safety net in the relatively near future.  The ranking House Budget Committee Democrat says using certain actuarial assumptions (which are dismissed by Republicans as unrealistic), his caucus' budget would balance by...2045.