According to a new poll published Tuesday by NBC News/Wall Street Journal, the sequester fight has begun taking its toll on the public, who now has less confidence in the US economy than before and believes President Barack Obama has more chances of winning this battle than his Republican foes.
However, despite the likelihood that GOP leaders will fail to convince Obama, the majority of the nation supports Congress’ proposal to move ahead with the proposed cuts or a plan that will include more cuts as a way to balance the budget and reduce the deficit.
The poll results suggest that in general the public believes that if GOP wants the administration to agree to its viewpoint, the party will need to bring about a major change in its policies.
“If the president needs some tweaks and adjustments, the Republican Party is pretty much in need of a major makeover,” commented Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research Associates, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.
“The Republicans don’t need a silver lining; they need a whole new playbook,” Yang added.
Exactly half the respondents believe that both parties should work together to avoid the sequester cuts from taking place, while 46 percent said that the automatic spending cuts, though not without their drawbacks, should go into effect. Thirty-seven percent of the respondents said they want a plan that would offer fewer cuts than what the administration is currently proposing, but 53% support Congress and even has an appetite for deeper cuts.
However, the NBC/WSJ pollsters cautioned that the numbers in this survey could change once the cuts go into effect and the economy begins to feel them.
“A month from now, we might find a very different dynamic at play,” said Yang. “When you feel [these cuts], that’s a different story.”
Yang added that since the time Obama was campaigning for re-election and now that he has entered the governing mode, the public opinion hasn’t changed much.
Obama’s overall approval rating has gone three points down since December and two points since January, but still stands at a healthy 50%, since there is general support for Obama’s top priorities for this year, such as immigration reforms, gun control and raising the minimum wage with each having 54, 61 and 60% support respectively.