As right-wing Republicans in Congress prepare to defy a popular president, the will of the American people, and the Constitution of the United States by again holding the debt ceiling hostage, a new Washington Post/ABC poll on the fiscal cliff deal shows that bringing the global economy to the brink of disaster is probably not a good negotiating strategy for the GOP if they want the public on their side.
A majority of Americans (51 percent) disapprove of House Speaker John Boehner’s handling of fiscal cliff budget negotiations, while a majority (52 percent) also approve of the way President Obama handled the negotiations — 45 percent of Americans approve of the agreement that was reached to avoid the fiscal cliff.
Broken down along partisan lines, the difference in public opinion regarding the deal is stark, but does show a cross-party increase for both Boehner and Obama from December — 66 percent of Democrats approve of the deal, while 63 percent of Republicans disapprove. An impressive 81 percent of Democrats approve of Obama’s job performance, compared with 27 percent of Republicans, up from 8 percent in a December poll. Only 38 percent of Republicans approve of Boehner’s job performance, while 27 percent of Democrats approve of his handling of the fiscal issue, up from 14 percent in December.
Perhaps most troubling for Boehner is that ideological conservative disapproval of Boehner jumped from 36 to 61 percent. The pressure is squarely on Boehner in the upcoming debt ceiling battle, but given his unpopularity among every demographic, the question is, which path will he take? Will he appease the uncompromising hard right wing of his party with a provocative stance? Or will he work with the president and congressional Democrats on a deal and continue to see an uptick in his approval ratings among the majority of the American people?