A new Pulse Opinion Research poll commissioned by the conservative Let Freedom Ring organization indicates that by a 43 percent to 30 percent margin, voters would hold Democrats rather than Republicans accountable if an impasse over the budget were to lead to a shutdown in non-vital U.S. government operations.
Another 23 percent of respondents said that they would hold both parties equally responsible.
After a meeting with President Barack Obama failed to break the impasse Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner said he would not allow Republicans to be “forced to choose between two options that are bad for the country.”
Republicans are holding out for $61 billion in cuts. President Obama told the nation on Tuesday that Democrats have already agreed to $73 billion in cuts, but Boehner said those Democratic proposals amount to “smoke and mirrors.”
The current authorization for federal spending expires on Friday. House Republicans are considering a stopgap spending bill for another week in return for $12 billion in cuts, but the White House indicated it does not favor that option.
In an exclusive Newsmax interview, Let Freedom Ring President Colin A. Hanna says the timing of the survey could be key to evaluating its results. It was conducted on March 30 after the key issues in the budget standoff had fully emerged.
“I think as people are getting closer, they’re beginning to understand what’s really going on,” Hanna says. “Republicans have made several efforts, starting with HR 1 and then going through the short-term continuing resolutions.
“And the other side appears to be not merely intransigent, but actually rooting for a shutdown in the hope that it would be blamed on Republicans. And I think this survey shows that tactic isn’t working. But the White House still seems to be sticking to it.”
The Let Freedom Ring poll shows that 65 percent of respondents believe the $61 billion in cuts sought by House Republicans is either “about right” or “too little.”
Of particular note, according to Hanna: Half of Democrats also said the GOP cuts were “about right” or “too little,” while only 30 percent of Democrats considered the cuts excessive.
Those results, Hanna says, refute the Democratic talking point that the cuts proposed by Republicans are “extreme” and that the GOP is “out of touch” with the wishes of voters.
“Obviously the cuts are not extreme, if 50 percent of Democrats think the cuts are either too little or about right,” Hanna tells Newsmax. “When they say extreme they mean too much. And the point is … the Democratic leadership, and the president, are well to the left of the Democratic base. That’s the definition of being out of touch.”
The Let Freedom Ring poll appears to echo a TheHill.com survey released Monday which showed voters, by a 41 percent to 29 percent margin, believe Republicans have been more reasonable than Democrats in trying to work out a solution to the nation’s budget woes.
The U.S. government has been operating on a series of continuing resolutions for the current year’s budget ever since the Democratic-dominated 111th Congress was unable to pass a budget last year. The House has passed a budget proposal, HR-1, that has languished in the Democratic-controlled Senate for over six weeks now.
The poll is based on 1,000 telephone interviews and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. Hanna says the responses were weighted to ensure the results accurately reflect the views of Democrats as well as Republicans. The complete cross tabs are available at LetFreedomRingUSA.com.
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