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AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Are Republicans actually about to win a political messaging battle? It’d certainly be shocking given the party’s track record, but that’s the story of a new Associated Press poll that is just brutal for the Democrat narrative on the debt ceiling fight.
According to the results of the AP-NORC poll, a whopping 63 percent of Americans want a debt ceiling deal that includes measures to decrease the federal deficit. That compares to just 19 percent who want a debt ceiling increase to be passed without any conditions.
Twenty-one percent of adults are following the debate over increasing the national debt limit closely and another 38% are following it somewhat closely. Similar numbers feel they understand the debate extremely or very well (20%) or somewhat well (41%).
Nineteen percent of the public think the debt limit should be increased without conditions, while 63% want terms on reducing the federal budget deficit included with any debt limit increase. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to support increasing the debit limit without any condition.
Democrats have been banking on the idea that Americans are going to blame Republicans for a possible default no matter what. That’s exactly what’s happened in the past, especially with government shutdown fights, with the press flip-flopping its position depending on who is in power. If a Republican is president, shutdowns are always the president’s fault. If a Democrat is president, shutdowns are always Congress’ fault.
But for once, it appears most Americans have had enough of being played. Democrats are out there pushing ridiculous ideas like using the 14th Amendment or minting a $1 trillion coin to pay the nation’s debt. But why do that when the vast majority simply want a deal with spending cuts attached? Especially when both of the former moves would likely be found to be illegal.
I have to give House Speaker Kevin McCarthy credit. During the battle over whether he’d assume that role, I wrote several articles saying that he deserves a chance after he made concessions to conservatives on committee assignments and the rules package. So far, he’s absolutely delivered.
Almost no one thought he could unite the Republican caucus to pass a debt ceiling bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was so certain McCarthy would fail that he joined hands with Democrats to pass a lame-duck omnibus bill because he didn’t think the new majority could govern. Boy was he wrong, and someone should probably ask him about that.
Moving back to the White House, Biden has done what he’s done his entire failed career, which is to grossly miscalculate. He thought he could just point fingers and have the press do his bidding, but Americans aren’t buying what he and his party are selling. With the deadline just a few days away, there’s no real time to change public opinion either. Democrats now have a very simple choice to make. Either they drive the nation off a fiscal cliff and take the blame, or they offer some modest concessions and get a deal done. For the first time in a long time, Republicans look to have outmaneuvered their opposition.