Better Job Rating, Advantage on Debt Limit Mark the Start of Obama’s Second Term
Barack Obama approaches his second term with his highest job approval rating since his first year in office (save for a brief bin Laden bounce) and a clear upper hand over the deeply unpopular Congress - including majority support for his demand to decouple talks on the debt ceiling and budget cuts.
With another showdown on the nation’s borrowing limit looming, 58 percent of Americans in this ABC News/Washington Post poll say the debt ceiling should be handled separately from the debate on spending cuts. Thirty-six percent instead favor linking the two, as the Republicans in Congress seek - a position that drew a tart response from the president Monday.
If it comes to a standoff, moreover, just 22 percent in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, indicate they’re willing to have the federal government default on its debt obligations or partially shut down if budget cuts can’t be agreed. And the president leads the GOP leadership in trust to handle the issue by a 14-point margin.
The results are perhaps unhelpful to House Speaker John Boehner, who said Monday, “The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time.” That followed Obama’s comment that failing to lift the debt limit would be “irresponsible” and “absurd”; he called the linkage to budget cuts “a ransom.”