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Pew Poll Shows Public Support Backs Democrats on Budget Issues

President Obama during a walk back to the White House on Dec. 13. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP.

A new poll by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds that President Obama and congressional Democrats lead their Republican counterparts by a wide margin in job approval ratings, and are seen by a majority of respondents as more willing to work on a compromise for a budget agreement than GOP leaders.

Find the full report here.

The poll, conducted last week with 1,503 adult respondents, showed that 55 percent of Americans perceive the president as being serious about brokering a deal, whereas 32 percent say the Republicans are.

And when comparing the two parties on willingness to embrace bipartisanship, 53 percent said Democrats were “more willing to work with leaders from the other party,” whereas Republicans got nearly half that number, 27 percent. Eighty percent of Americans say that the country is more politically divided today, a record number in the history of Pew.

Pew compared job ratings between Mr. Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner. Whereas the president received favorable marks of 55 percent, the GOP’s chief negotiator for the budget talks had the approval of 28 percent of Americans. Congressional Republican leaders’ job performances were reviewed favorable by a quarter of Americans, while Democratic leaders saw positive ratings of 40 percent.

While 74 percent of Americans say they advocate for a balanced approach that combines spending cuts with tax revenue increases, the poll found that when asked about specific ways to balance the budget, more people oppose making cuts to education (77 percent) and assistance programs for people of low-incomes (58 percent), and also disapproved of measures that would raise eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security (56 percent each).

Responding to a proposal for raising taxes for people earning more than $250,000, 69 percent said they were in favor — the highest rating of any option posed in the poll, beating out alternative ideas to put limits on tax deductions (54 percent) or raise the tax rate on investment income (52 percent).

In the report Pew released Thursday, the authors wrote, “the current problems for the GOP run deep,” stressing that there is overall more public support for Mr. Obama’s policy approach to the fiscal crisis, as well as general approval.

On the NewsHour broadcast Thursday, Andrew Kohut of Pew Research Center analyzes the latest poll numbers.

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