The FINANCIAL — President Obama continues to insist that tax increases be part of any deal to raise the federal debt ceiling before he agrees to the level of spending cuts Republicans are seeking.
But most voters don’t see it that way.
In fact, just 34% of Likely U.S. Voters think a tax hike should be included in any legislation to raise the debt ceiling. Of course, there is a huge partisan divide on the question. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Democrats want a tax hike in the deal, while 82% of Republicans and 51% of voters not affiliated with either major party do not.
At the same time, most voters nationwide (52%) continue to feel that failing to make significant cuts in government spending is more dangerous in the short-term than the government defaulting on the federal debt.
But then voters believe more strongly than ever that decreasing government spending is good for the economy and that tax increases of any kind are bad economic medicine. Fifty-five percent (55%) think decreases in government spending help the economy. Just 24% feel that tax increases help.
Voters even oppose an increase in the federal gas tax – even if the money goes only to developing and keeping up Interstate highways.
As the nation struggles with high unemployment and a depressed housing market, voters are evenly divided about which worries them more—that the government will do too much in response to the bad economy or not do enough. But most voters still don’t care much for government regulation of the economy and think it has a bigger negative impact on small businesses than big businesses.
Speaking of the economy, the Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures daily confidence among consumers, fell to its lowest level in two years on Thursday. The Rasmussen Investor Index, which measures daily confidence among investors, on Friday was down 11 points from three months ago.
One-in-five working Americans continue to classify themselves as poor, while the number of those who consider themselves middle class has fallen to a two-year low. Just 30% of Americans believe the quality of life for children today is better than it was a generation ago.
Trust in the U.S. banking industry has steadily slipped over the past three months. Now more Americans lack confidence in the banking system than continue to express confidence in it by a 53% to 45% margin.
Most Americans (79%) remain at least somewhat concerned about inflation and also lack confidence in the Federal Reserve to keep inflation under control and interest rates down. That includes 50% who are Very Concerned.
Once again this week, most voters want to see the national health care law repealed. But now they’re more closely divided over whether the law will force them to change their existing health insurance coverage.
Voters remain slightly more conservative when it comes to fiscal policy than they are on social issues, while 29% say they are conservative in both areas. Forty-four percent (44%) of voters classify themselves as conservative on fiscal issues such as taxes, government spending and business regulation. Nearly as many (40%) view themselves as moderate on these issues, while only 12% say they are fiscal liberals.
Most voters (52%) also still think the president is more liberal than they are. Just 15% feel Obama is politically more conservative than they are, while 26% believe the president’s ideology is about the same as their own.
A generic Republican candidate now earns the highest level of support yet against Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election matchup. The generic Republican picks 48% of the vote, while the president gets 43% support.
Republicans held a six-point advantage on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending Sunday, July 10. Republicans have led on the ballot for every week since June 2009, with leads ranging from two to 12 points.
Voters continue to say the president is doing a better job on national security than the economy, but his marks in both areas have improved slightly. Still, just 38% rate the president’s handling of economic issues as good or excellent, while 51% like the job he is doing on the national security front.
Confidence that that the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror soared following the killing of Osama bin Laden and remains high again this month. But voter optimism about the situation in Afghanistan has slipped back to levels measured before bin Laden’s death.
Voters remain skeptical about U.S. military involvement in Libya. Only 24% of voters now believe the United States should continue its military action in the north African country.
Obama’s bin Laden bounce is definitely over, with his numbers in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll remaining largely where they’ve been for months.