Despite the failure of the supercommittee to reach an agreement on $1.2 trillion in budget cuts, most Americans say they favor a combination of tax increases on the wealthy and major cuts in spending.
Cuts in defense spending, however, are becoming less palatable among the general public as the likelihood of such cuts becomes more apparent, according to a new CNN/ORC International Poll released today.
Six in 10 Americans oppose major cuts to the military, according to the Nov. 18-20 telephone poll of 1,019 adults. Almost 60 percent of Americans also oppose major changes in entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
The findings with respect to taxes represent a slight increase from a similar poll taken in early August — around the time that the supercommittee was impaneled. The findings regarding major cuts in domestic spending are consistent with polling data from late summer.
Overall, two-thirds support increasing taxes on wealthy Americans, while 32 percent oppose it. Americans overwhelmingly oppose any plan that would include a tax increase on the middle class.
"Nearly 7 in 10 independent voters don't have a problem with raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations," says Keating Holland, CNN polling director. “But independents also back major domestic spending cuts — something that Republicans favor but Democrats oppose.”
Pollsters say that the data helps explain why the supercommittee has been unable to reach agreement. Republicans oppose tax increases by a 59 percent to 39 percent margin, and Democrats oppose spending cuts 57-42 percent margin.
The poll, however, finds that Republicans stand to take the greatest hit in popularity, based on the failure of the six Democrats and six Republicans who sit on the supercommittee.
“Neither party comes out very popular, but the approval rating of the GOP leadership in Congress has fallen further, and harder, than the same measure for congressional Democrats," Holland says.
The approval rating for the GOP leadership has fallen to 21 percent, reflecting a drop of 13 points, while Democratic approval stands at 29 percent.
The poll’s overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
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