…Dig deeper into the poll and you find something striking: Public disapproval of the sequester is running high — and more Americans hold Republicans responsible for it. Solid majorities oppose specific cuts to government programs to replace the sequester — even as solid majorities support closing tax loopholes to replace it. Solid majorities reject the basic Republican argument about the sequester and the economy.
It’s true that the poll finds that Obama only holds a small edge over Republicans on who is most trusted on the economy, 44-40. His approval rating has slipped, though it remains at 50 percent. The public also is split on who has the balance right on government spending (though this may again reflect that people always like cutting spending in the abstract). But look at these findings:
* 72 percent of Americans, including 74 percent of independents and 81 percent of moderates, disapprove of the Congressional GOP.
* Americans disapprove of the sequester cuts by 53-39; 64 percent say they’ll hurt the economy; 60 percent say they’ll hurt the government’s ability to provide basic services; and 69 percent say they’ll hurt the military.
* Americans hold Congressional Republicans responsible for the sequester cuts by 47-33.
* 68 percent want Obama and the GOP to work together to avert the cuts, while only 28 percent want them to continue (the conservative position).
* 71 percent oppose cutting spending on Medicaid to replace the cuts; and 60 percent oppose raising the Medicare eligibility age to replace them. By contrast, 58 percent support replacing the cuts with more targeted cuts to military spending.
* 56 percent support replacing the cuts with an agreement that includes limiting deductions enjoyed by higher income individuals.
Doesn’t sound like much support for the GOP’s rigid position that only budget cuts merit consideration. As Sargent explains: “People say they agree with the GOP about spending cuts in the abstract. But when you get specific, solid majorities disapprove of the sequester cuts and think they’ll harm the economy — rejecting the conservative argument about the relationship between the economy and spending cuts.”
When polls ask good questions, it is clear that progressive economic policies have much more support than do the Republican’s austerity proposals. Or, as Sargent concludes, “Majorities reject the values, priorities, and governing vision at the heart of the GOP stance on the sequester.”