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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Americans Oppose Every GOP Idea for the Fiscal Cliff

I've joked that if you "unskewed" the presidential election results to get rid of the American people's liberal bias, you'd see that Mitt Romney totally won the election. While it's fun to tweak conservatives over the poll trutherism that caused them to be caught with their pants down on election night, the fact is that this form of denialism has always been there. It's usually expressed as "you can get a poll to say whatever you want," but this time they just put more effort into it with the addition of fantasy numbers -- an effort that, ironically, was spent getting polls to say what conservatives wanted to hear. You hope this particular strain of reality opposition has suffered a fatal blow with Mitt Romney's loss, but you never know. Conservatives have a talent for ignoring lessons.

But not learning this particular lesson would be a tragedy for the GOP, so I think it's sinking in. Given the findings of a new poll, the time would be right for a GOP awakening, anyway.

Raising taxes on income over $250,000 remains a broadly popular approach to dealing with the country’s budgetary woes, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Sixty percent of all Americans back higher taxes on higher incomes in the new Post-ABC data. Earlier this month, an identical 60 percent of voters in the presidential election said income taxes should be raised on income over $250,000, according to the national exit poll.


In the new poll, 73 percent of Democrats support such tax hikes, including a majority, 57 percent, who do so “strongly.” Among political independents, 63 percent back an increase, while 59 percent of Republicans oppose such a move.

Other proposed solutions to shrinking the debt are far less popular with the public. Only 44 percent support new limitations on the deductions people can claim on their federal income taxes — a proposal that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney put forward during his unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign.

In fact, if you look at the results closely, the poll has absolutely no good news for Republicans at all. As Steve Benen points out, "in the fiscal fight, the American mainstream disagrees with congressional Republicans on everything." If you wanted to get a portrait of exactly what it is that the American public opposes as a fiscal cliff solution, you could just grab any segment from any cable news network featuring any random Republican counting off their party's talking points. The GOP doesn't have a leg to stand on here. In fact, earlier polling showed Americans were ready to blame the GOP for a jump off the fiscal cliff. This newest one just spells out the specifics.

And Republicans are even being stripped of their fig leafs. They've been suggesting that closing loopholes would be preferable to raising tax rates, but the poll shows that's not a popular position either. Of course, Mitt Romney proposed this, so America has just gone through months and months of being told you can't close enough loopholes to get the job done without screwing the middle class. These things sink in and the losing candidate's position becomes a losing position. For current Republican congress critters, the idea's just a PR stunt anyway -- it's a way to raise taxes while denying you're actually raising taxes. Luckily, a big percentage aren't buying it.

So, will the GOP heed the writing on the wall or will they, in typical Republican style, take a kamikaze run off the fiscal cliff? One sign of the party coming around to sanity is the fact that anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist -- once a top powerbroker for the GOP -- is now being thrown under every passing bus. At this point, it looks like any tough talk is posturing. Republican leaders will take whatever bone is handed to them and try to sell it to their base and their Wall Street donors as a feast.

Anything else looks like political suicide. As Republicans learned the hard way, poll numbers do not lie.


[poll graphic courtesy of Steve Benen and Maddow Blog]

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