Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Only 22% of the Tea Party Approve of Debt Deal

WASHINGTON — The hard-won, last-minute agreement to raise the debt ceiling and cut the deficit gets low ratings from Americans, who by more than 2-1 predict it will make the nation's fragile economy worse rather than better.

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken hours after the Senate passed and President Obama signed the deal, a 46% plurality disapprove of the agreement; 39% approve. Only one in five see it as a "step forward" in addressing the federal debt.

"People don't know jack" about the particulars of the agreement, "but what you heard about the process throughout was that it was horrible," says Joseph White, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University who studies budget policy. "Most people assume that whatever came out of this horrible process was pretty crappy."

The sour reaction even after a compromise was struck underscores why the negotiations were so difficult, says Stan Collender, a former staffer on the House and Senate budget committees who is a partner at Qorvis Communications. "There was almost no way at all that elected officials were going to win on this one. No matter what they did, a lot of people were going to dislike it."

The poll finds some paradoxes.

Though Tea Party conservatives succeeded in setting the parameters of the debate, supporters of the Tea Party are among those most unhappy with the outcome. Only 22% of Tea Party supporters approve of the deal, (emphasis mine)  compared with 26% of Republicans generally and 58% of Democrats.

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