Americans narrowly disapprove of the deficit reduction bill agreed upon in Washington on Monday, but they disapprove of Congress’ and President Obama’s handling of the debt ceiling crisis by a wide margin, according to a Newsmax poll conducted by InsiderAdvantage.
The survey also found that House Speaker John Boehner gets the highest approval marks among prominent members of Congress who played key roles in the agreement.
In the poll of more than 1,500 registered voters, 44 percent of respondents said they approve of the legislation, but 47 percent don’t like it, and the rest have no opinion.
Democrats are more likely than Republicans to approve of the bill: 51 percent of Democrats approve and 40 percent disapprove, while just 38 percent of Republicans approve and 51 percent disapprove. Among independents, 51 percent disapprove and 39 percent approve.
“The poll results show that the nation is pretty well split,” said Matt Towery, CEO of nonpartisan InsiderAdvantage.
“Most interestingly, just 38 percent of Republicans approve, so we can now understand why Republican candidates say they oppose the bill: They have pollsters, too, and understand the opposition among GOP voters.
“It’s also significant that more than half of independents disapprove, and independents will be crucial if Republicans expect to knock off President Obama in 2012.”
Asked for their opinion of the overall job performance of the House, the Senate, and the president in their efforts to raise the national debt ceiling, nearly three-quarters of respondents — 73 percent — say they disapprove, while just 23 percent approve.
Republicans solidly disapprove: 71 percent rate the job performance poorly, and just 14 percent approve. Among Democrats, 62 percent disapprove and 34 percent approve.
The highest disapproval rate, 77 percent, comes from voters ages 30 to 44.
“The entire Washington, D.C., establishment does not fare well in the opinion of voters,” Towery said.
“Interestingly enough, a sizeable percentage of Democrats, 62 percent, don’t approve of the president or Congress’ job performance in handling the crisis.”
Independents are even more disapproving: 78 percent say they don’t approve of the performance in Washington.
Respondents in the Newsmax poll were asked who is the one leader in Congress they believe performed the best in dealing with the debt ceiling issue. Boehner is the clear winner — 29 percent chose him, while 20 percent cited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, 9 percent chose House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and 7 percent chose Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
But 28 percent of respondents chose “none of the above,” and 8 percent had no opinion.
“The big winner here is Boehner,” Towery said. “Not only did he get 47 percent of the vote from Republicans, but also 35 percent from independents, so he came out looking better than the president.”
Asked for their opinion of President Obama’s performance in dealing with the issue, 59 percent disapprove and just 38 percent approve.
Significantly, 60 percent of the crucial independent voters say they don’t approve of Obama’s performance.
And 33 percent of black voters don’t approve of Obama’s handling of the issue.
“The disapproval rate is a stark and amazing number,” Towery said.
“Two things are most interesting. One, the independents’ disapproval vote is very high. Even more surprising, 33 percent of African-Americans disapprove. I’ve never seen anything like this before. I’ve been polling for a long time and have never seen Obama get this poor of a number among African-Americans.”