19% of public agrees with GOP that tax increases should be off the table

A nasty new poll from PEW (nasty for the GOP) shows just how bad the Republicans have it on issues ranging from the sequester to immigration, gun control, climate change, and the minimum wage. (More detailed results here.)

And, as always, keep an eye on the independents in these polls.  You pretty much (usually) know how the Republicans and Democrats are going to come down on any one issue, but indies are the key swing vote.

First, what legislation each group thinks is “essential” this year.  The priority is the deficit, followed by immigration, then lesser support for gun control and even less for climate change.  It’s interesting that climate change fares so much worse than gun control.

PEW poll budget deal sequester gun control climate change immigration minimum wage


Blame for sequester, PEWWhile the public doesn’t entirely seem to get what the sequester is – 49% say we should delay it, 40% say let it happen – if the sequester happens and bad things start happening, and they will, 49% say they’ll blame the Republicans, while only 31% say they’ll blame Democrats.

As for what kind of a budget deal the public wants in order to avoid the sequester, only 19% agree with the Republican position that tax increases should be off the table.  A full 76% agree with the President and Democrats that the deal should involve a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.  And this part made me laugh:

Even among Republicans, more favor a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to just spending cuts (56% vs. 42%).

One part of the polling that PEW botched was asking people how much of the final package should be tax increases and how much should be spending cuts.  PEW asked whether the deal should be “mostly spending cuts” or “mostly tax increases.”  For some unknown reason, PEW did not offer a third option “a 50-50 split of tax increases and spending cuts.”  It’s quite possible that a majority want a 50-50 split, but when you ONLY give them the option of mostly spending cuts vs mostly tax increases, they prefer spending cuts.  This was a sloppy mistake.

In bad news, I’d argue, the public seems to be buying into deficit-mania, with 70% says it is essential that we pass major legislation to reduce the federal deficit.  Even a majority of Democrats feel this way.


51% says it’s essential to act on immigration, including 53% of Republicans and 49% of Independents, which is kind of funny, but perhaps makes sense.  Some Republicans are terrified of losing another election, so they want immigration reform to buy Latino votes.  Other Republicans are terrified about “the Mexican invasion,” so they’re demanding hard-nose immigration reform to stop it.  So “strong” GOP support for immigration legislation isn’t necessarily a sign that the GOP is on board with “good” immigration legislation.

In fact, the poll shows that about half the public thinks an immigration deal should include better border security along with a path for citizenship for people who are here illegally.  That’s a shift away from “border security” in past polls.

Gun Control

46% says it’s essential to act on gun violence.  Only 42% of independents are on board here, that’s not good. Having said that, it’s higher than the number of independents who want to put off gun control until another time (23%), or not at all (33%).

There’s huge support for background checks at gun shows (83%) and still a strong majority for a ban on assault rifles (56%) and a ban on high-capacity clips (53%). 52% of indies agree with the assault weapon ban, as do 43% of Republicans (I’m actually surprised it’s that high for Rs).

PEW gun control

Climate Change

But only 34% says it’s essential to act on climate change.  We only get 35% of independents on board here.

54% wants more alternative energy vs. more drilling (34%).  And 62% favor stricter emissions on power plants, while only 28% oppose.  And the indies are with us on this one:

PEW and climate change

PEW notes that young people are with us too.

Minimum Wage

71% support increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9.00, including 68% of independents and 50% of Republicans.
PEW minimum wage

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • charlestonvoice

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  • And who by 2010 completely forgot his presidency ever existed.

  • That’s the same 19%, incidentally, that thinks the NRA uses reasonable logic in their press releases and thinks the Koch brothers have their best interests at heart.

  • Ford Prefect

    Largely agree, except for the part about the WH wanting to take an axe to DOD pork. They’ve said all along they don’t want any cuts at all to the war budget. That’s just a cudgel they’re using against the GOP’s precious pork. It will also help get Dems in line as well, since DOD pork is popular in both parties.

    The WH has had four years to rein in whatever they want to rein in. The Pentagon simply isn’t a target for reductions with this administration.

    What Obama has said all along is he wants “reforms” to any and all social programs, further privatization of public education and so on… all so he can raise the war budget, domestic “security” spending and so on. As for the tanks, those will be sold elsewhere or be used to replace older tanks that will be sold elsewhere. Obama is the world’s pre-eminent arms dealer now, so I don’t think he’s concerned about a few tanks.

    This entire manufactured crisis is about radically re-ordering spending priorities along different lines while avoiding discussing those priorities altogether. The sequester was created to get the GOP (and probably “liberal” Dems as well, those who are still attached to social programs that actually do some good) in line. It may not be working, except on the “liberal” Dems, of course. Obama is sitting pretty right now. He’s central to this whole absurdist psychodrama, but he knows how to avoid responsibility and blame in all cases.

    This whole thing is manna from technocratic heaven. Which means hell for the rest of us.

  • nicho

    Where are the bananas? We’re not even getting bananas.

  • Naja pallida

    They’re also primarily the same people who live in states where their tax dollars vanish into the pockets of special interests and corporate welfare the second they pay them, so they see no, or at least very little, net benefit. They truly have no concept of what it is like to live in a society where your tax dollars are actually put to good use, so have no frame of reference with which to understand. They see nothing but corruption, so expect nothing but more corruption if they pay more taxes.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Atrios made a good point about the Pew poll. They only asked about ‘the deficit’ not ‘jobs’. So reports of concern about the deficit is really a proxy for all economic issues and not an endorsement of beltway wisdom that the GOP induced budget deficit is the most important issue.

    There are also reports coming out that the GOP is now looking at ways to make the sequester more palatable rather than their non starter proposal to steal everyone’s pension to pay for Bush’s tax cuts for the Koch bros. Under the new plan they are talking about giving the agency heads ‘flexibility’ to move money between accounts.

    Which when you look at the implications is essentially giving Obama a line item veto over 10% of discretionary spending including military pork. Well there is a $3 billion purchase of 300 Abrahams tanks the pentagon does not want (they have 3000 in storage already and don’t want more). that can go for a start. And then there are the jet fighters that don’t actually work…

    I thought this was the WH end game from the start. They wanted the sequestration so they could take a meat axe to pentagon pork.

  • nicho

    Now — if only the one percent gave a flying fuck what the people of the US wanted, we might be getting somewhere.

  • nicho

    These are the same people who thought George W. Bush was a gift from god.

  • It depresses me that any serious attempt to make the federal income tax more just and progressive is, as it seems, politically impossible and not likely to change any time soon. Even the weakest gestures in that direction result in much screaming and hollering that the world’s going to end. It extends to the state level, too. My home state of Washington refuses to institute an income tax so it relies upon a hideously regressive welter of sales and excise taxes to fund the public coffers. (I voted for Ron Sims for Governor because he actually proposed to fix this broken system but he lost badly partly because he supported a state income tax. So we’ll go on with the most regressive tax system in the country even though it’s a complete fucking mess.)

  • Ford Prefect

    This poll shows how well propaganda works. On matters in which people actually have some understanding of the issue (minimum wage, etc.), they poll as one would expect–they do not wish the standard of living to keep falling.

    On matters of which people know nothing but what the Mighty Wurlitzer tells them (deficits, etc.), they poll on a level consistent with words like, “stupid” or “banal.” No surprise there, since even 65% of Democrats are proving to the world just how illiterate they are in economics. That ignorance has been faithfully enhanced with “leadership” from the Democratic Party and it’s mainstream organs. Sadly, that ignorance will also prove a major factor in the next shocking downward spiral in the economy. As a nation, we’re just asking for it, aren’t we?

    More importantly, PEW was either remiss or serving the ruling elites’ interests in omitting jobs from the picture. We know how that topic polls and it’s missing from this poll. This is not a minor oversight either. It skews all the other economic results.

    Lastly, it’s very difficult indeed to not notice just how much Obama and the Democrats more generally have contributed to the dumbification of Democratic voters. Between the deficit nonsense and the environmental/socio-economic nightmare we’re making for ourselves, a solid plurality of Democrats are totally on board… simply because they’re told to be. Is it just me, or are Democrats polling more like Republicans all the time? It’s like a swirling vortex of stupid we’re witnessing.

  • pappyvet

    “A good days work desreves a good days wage,” was always the best American ethic, it’s been torn to pieces and rationalized away not by mistake but by plan. I remember the NAFTA debate. On one side was 80% of the country with Ross Perot’s “giant sucking sound” and on the other was the “American workers are greedy and selfish,” routine. And the “We should help pull others up to our level,” scam.

    Now we have people jumping out of factory windows in China,

    And in Mexico, there are now 400 maquiladoras—border factories—in Juarez. But they pay a wage that cannot sustain a human being. Down there you make about 65 bucks a week in a maquiladora, But the cost of living on the border in Mexico is 80-90% of what it would be if you lived in the United States. And no one seriously thinks an American can sustain himself on $65 a week.
    We have been sold a bill of goods,Banana republic anyone?

  • Quilla

    I’ve noticed in a lot of these polls there seems to be at least 20% of people who are just off the track in their narrow gauge beliefs. Who are they? Should we find and educate them or just hope they all move to The Citadel in Idaho?

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