We can also use the Gallup poll to tease out what mix of tax increases and spending cuts the public would like to see in a deal. Assume that the people who told Gallup that they wanted “mostly” cuts would prefer a 3-to-1 ratio of spending reductions to tax increases, and that those who said they wanted mostly tax increases would prefer a 3-to-1 ratio in the opposite direction. (The other choices that Gallup provided in the poll — an equal mix of tax increases and spending cuts or a deal that consisted entirely of one or the other — are straightforward to interpret.)
The average Republican voter, based on this data, wants a mix of 26 percent tax increases to 74 percent spending cuts. The average independent voter prefers a 34-to-66 mix, while the average Democratic voter wants a 46-to-54 mix.
Now consider the positions of the respective parties to the negotiation. One framework that President Obama has offered, which would reduce the debt by a reported $2 trillion, contains a mix of about 17 percent tax increases to 83 percent spending cuts. Another framework, which would aim for twice the debt reduction, has been variously reported as offering a 20-to-80 or 25-to-75 mix.
With the important caveat that the accounting on both the spending and tax sides can get tricky, this seems like an awfully good deal for Republicans. Much to the chagrin of many Democrats, the mix of spending cuts and tax increases that Mr. Obama is offering is quite close to, or perhaps even a little to the right of, what the average Republican voter wants, let alone the average American.
Obama is offering less tax increases and more spending cuts than what Gallup reports as desirable by Republicans, and is still getting rejected. It’s clear at this point that the Republicans are running out the clock and hoping that Obama will receive the blame for the disastrous effects of the US debt ceiling remaining where it is. I can only hope the media and the US population are keen enough on what’s happening to understand who is really at fault.