Poll: Despite Democrats' Best Efforts, Public Not Terrified of Ryan Budget Proposal

Posted: Apr 26, 2011 12:16 PM
USA Today has released a new poll indicating that three weeks of relentless and false Democratic attacks against Paul Ryan's 2012 budget blueprint have thus fair failed frighten Americans into opposition.  The survey is chock-full of buoying news for Republicans:

Nearly three-fourths of those surveyed, 71%, worry that the Democrats’ plan “won’t go far enough to fix the problem”; 62% fear they might use the deficit as an excuse to raise taxes.

By more than 3-to-1, those surveyed say the deficit stems from too much spending, rather than too little tax revenue.

When it comes to solving the deficit problem, about half of Americans, 48%, want to do it entirely or mostly with spending cuts. Some 37% support an equal mix of spending cuts and tax increases; 11% prefer mostly tax hikes.

Republicans hold a 12-percentage-point edge over Democrats as the party better able to handle the budget, and a 5-point edge on the economy in general.

Not everything turns up roses for the GOP in the poll, however; some of the Democrats' talking points seem to have hit home:

Nearly two-thirds, 64%, fear the Republicans’ deficit plan will take away needed protections for the poor and the disadvantaged and will “protect the rich at the expense of everyone else.”

Overall, Americans are "evenly divided" between the Ryan budget and the (non)-"plan" offered by President Obama earlier this month.  And then there's this:

Meanwhile, the country is deeply discouraged about the future. A majority of Americans say today’s youth aren’t likely to have a better life than their parents, a judgment at odds with the traditional American dream — the first time since the question initially was asked nearly three decades ago that a majority has held that view.

I'd say these constitute fairly encouraging results for House Republicans, who've taken an enormous political risk by endorsing concrete, controversial steps to control our exploding national debt:  (1) The public is aware of the debt crisis and deeply concerned about it.  That's a win right off the bat.  (2) The public is overwhelmingly convinced that major cuts in spending and not big tax hikes are the solution to the problem -- an early messaging and policy victory for the Right. (3) American voters are concerned that Democrats will exploit the debt deluge as an excuse to do what they always do: Raise taxes.  (4)  In light of items 1-3, voters trust the GOP over Democrats on budgetary matters by a double-digit margin -- perhaps a sign that Republicans have regained and maintained their fiscal conservative street cred.   Clearly this fight is far from over, but as the dust settles from its opening battle, Republicans have ample cause to feel affirmed as the prepare for round two.