Political Animal


February 25, 2013 5:41 PM Good News, Bad News For GOP

By Ed Kilgore

It’s never a good idea to pay too much attention to polls on fiscal issues unless you pay a lot of attention to how the questions are posed, but still: this pre-sequester survey from The Hill is interesting if only because of its timing. Here’s the good news for Republicans who are steadily transitioning from their “It’s all Obama’s idea!” message on the sequester to the “Hooray, let’s take credit!” rap:

A majority of voters believe cutting America’s debt is more important than maintaining domestic and military programs at their current levels, according to a new poll for The Hill.

And here’s the bad news:

But the public also feel strongly that the budget should be balanced on the back of reductions to defense spending rather than through cuts to programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Now it’s true the sequester won’t touch Social Security or actual Medicare benefits. But since it’s “entitlement reform” Republicans continue to demand as the price for any fiscal agreement, that may be a distinction without a difference to the public.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on February 25, 2013 6:33 PM:

    Poor, poor, Republicans.

    You made the economy THE issue last year - and lost.

    And, you've made the national debt THE major issue today - and still, people don't agree with you!

    Too bad we can't cut your throats, Republicans, instead of making the cuts YOU insist we have to make.
    We'd all be better off!
    You'd have nothing to worry about, dead, and we'd have a lot less to worry about with you gone.

  • Douglas6 on February 26, 2013 2:41 AM:

    Yawn. Call me when the sequester is over. BFD.

  • Samuel Knight on February 26, 2013 7:59 AM:

    MOst astonishing thing on these surveys is how little the public knows about any of the basic facts. Poll after poll shows people want cuts - but not to any specific programs. They think deficit is going up, not down.

    And what's a bit alarming is how little effort seems to be going to a basic strategy of being straighforward with the case.

    Basic - working together we have reduced the size of the deficit in the last 2 years. But for long term growth we have to invest in our future. We must invest in our people, our infrastructure, and our health in order to keep building a soceity that works. And to pay for that we need everyone to pay their fair share. etc.