Public sides with Obama in sequester debate

As the latest drama in Washington heats up, more Americans are throwing their support behind the president. Republicans, however, seem unmoved by the polls.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 21, 2013 6:02PM
U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference from the White House /Larry Downing/Reuters President Obama's job approval rating stands at a three-year high while Republicans' popularity stands at a record low, which may complicate efforts to head off $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, also known as the "sequester," from starting March 1.

The thumbs-up for Obama, who recently began his second term, comes courtesy of a Bloomberg National poll Wednesday showing his job approval rating at 55%, the highest level since September 2009. That same survey showed support for Republicans at 35%, the lowest since the poll began in September 2009. A poll released Thursday by the Pew Research Center and USA Today drew similar conclusions.

Democrats and Republicans say they want to avoid the sequester partly because of the massive disruptions it will cause in the lives of many Americans. At the Defense Department alone, about 700,000 employees could be furloughed along with a slew of other government workers ranging from FBI agents to rangers at national parks. Government contractors may also be affected.

Compromise in hyper-partisan Washington, though, remains as elusive as it was during the recent showdown over the fiscal cliff. Worries about the sequester are dragging down the stock market, which this week posted its worst two-day drop of the year.

Economists such as Nigel Gault of IHS Global Insight argue that the sequester would harm the economy. He estimates that it would shave 0.5% from projected U.S. economic growth this year, which, though not catastrophic, couldn't be made up through other means such as by action of the Federal Reserve.

"We don't need to be implementing more austerity now," he said in an interview, adding that there are more effective ways to cut federal spending.

Some House Republicans are balking at the Obama administration's plan to avoid this calamity through a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts because, as The New York Times notes, a direct conflict with Obama "is a badge of honor" for many representing conservative districts.

Like many issues in Washington, the sequester may get resolved at the last possible moment.  Worse still, politicians may punt on making a tough decision, kicking the can down the road to another day.

--Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.

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Feb 24, 2013 9:21AM
Which side are they taking , the american people ?  Obama in the beginning is the one who got in motion this entire sequester thing back in 2011 when we raised the debt ceiling. Obama even said that he would veto any bill that was tried to be passed to stop the sequester. Now 2 years later, the sequester is about to take affect, and Obama is flip flopped to the other side and says the sequester is bad..  I mean really ? Is this politics at its finest or what.
Feb 22, 2013 3:59PM
We have 4 more workdays before March 1 and where is the House?  On vacation! Who runs the House? The Republicans. They will do and have done everything possible to hurt our economy over the last 6 years. Refusals to vote on important issues, filibustering in the Senate to prevent a vote. What is wrong with these people?

This latest issue, the sequester, will knock off 0.5% from our GDP, stocks will go down, hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs and/or benefits. And our national defense is being forced to cut back in an irrational way.

I don't know how they even get their 15% positive ratings. Who are the 15% who think they are doing a good job?

Feb 22, 2013 2:49PM
O'Bama and absolutely no one else created the mandatory cuts in "sequester". He has to take ownership of "sequester" and stop lying to the American People.  Since day 1, O'Bama has always blamed others for his total failures, but he can't get around "sequester".  O'Bama has always used the strategy of threatening the most vulnerable (Elderly and Children) and "Divide and Conquer".  He goes around the country and spend time on Social Media talking about Major Reductions in Federal Spending that means no Medicare, no Veteran's Benefits, no Social Security Checks, etc. when he should spend his time attempting to find a compromise to the spending problem.  It is not Congress that is not willing to compromise it is O'Bama's attitude of "My Way or the Highway". HIT THE ROAD O'BAMA !!  the "SEQUESTER" WILL REDUCE NEW SPENDING!!  O'Bama has successfully divided this country and with that has started a Revolution that will soon be coming very aggressively to his Front-Door and it will take more than his Security Detail to keep them from getting him. O'Bama has made the U.S.A. a Welfare Country. A country where O'Bama pays people more NOT TO WORK than Working and these Welfare Deadbeat Blood Suckers believe whatever O'Bama tells them. To compound the issue you have people like Warren Buffett, who is under indictment for NOT paying his taxes adding fuel to the already raging fire.   The Welfare Deadbeats are led to believe that tax payers "owe them a living and for them everything is free". The problem is that the money will run out for O'Bama's expanded Government Entitlement Programs and these Welfare Deadbeats will be coming for O'Bama. The Tax Payers that are forced to pay for these expanded programs have been taxed until there is no more to tax and we are not willing to give O'Bama anymore money to throw away, so the Welfare Deadbeats can complain all they want but no one is listening.O'Bama is a Conman who has been running a Pyramid Scheme on a large number of not very intelligent U.S. Citizens and the World in General. Other countries have marked O'Bama for what he really is and don't believe anything coming from O'Bama's mouth., To other countries O'Bama is nothing more than a  Socialist Dictator and they know the same thing that has happened to past Socialist Dictators from past history will happen to O'Bama. I would like to know who is paying the Salaries of the Police, Firemen, EMT, Teacher's, etc. that O'Bama likes to use as a backdrop for his substance free where he blames everyone else for his total failure as President.
Feb 22, 2013 10:31AM

We could shut down all the National Parks for awhile and lay off all the rangers and keep the FBI

agents working and not one thing would slow down///////////

Feb 22, 2013 8:50AM
We know the public are stupid. They voted for Obama.
Feb 22, 2013 8:49AM
The man was elected overwhelmingly just 3 months ago - it shouldn't be a surprise that the public is on his side.  The real conundrum will be near the end of 2016, when the vast majority of the American people reflect on the previous 8 years and collectively ask themselves "WTF were we thinking?".
55%, hmmmm, that's the same percentage receiving welfare checks..
Feb 22, 2013 12:12AM

An uninformed citizen is an ignorant citizen.  The sequester will cut 2% from budgets.  If you work you just lost 2% of your pay as of January 1, 2013 from the payroll hike.  You did not have a choose.  Both parties are at fault but President Obama has yet to have a budget and it is required by law - but he only cares about the Obama law - HIS  WISE UP AMERICA!!!!

Feb 21, 2013 11:38PM
What a bunch of garbage. Pres.Obama proposed sequestration it to begin with, now he wants to slip the willie to the American public. No wonder this guy got re-elected. The American public is becoming dumber by the day. We are in big, big trouble as a country and this nightmare of a administration is no help to anyone. 1.8 %-2% growth are you kidding me, oh sure large boats take a while to turn around, believe that and I've got an island full of gold to sell you.
Feb 21, 2013 11:17PM
What was that old saying? "The inmates are in charge of the asylum!"
Feb 21, 2013 11:13PM
Ummm...wasn't the sequester Obama's and the democrats solution if they could not provide tax cuts???
Feb 21, 2013 11:06PM

In the Sequester what Obama is saying and what the party is doing are 2 differnt things.... Everyone wants a balanced budget..... However... no one is coming up with ways to balance it... Thats where the problem lies!

Feb 21, 2013 10:58PM

"I will veto any attempt to stop the sequester" - Barack Obama - campaigning in late 2011


Today? "Its the republicans fault".


Don't believe me - just Google it

Feb 21, 2013 10:48PM
Gee look at the Mitt wits' blaming Obama for all their failures in life. LOL If democrats are tax and spend ? REPUBLICANS are borrow and spend ! < They don't call 2001-2009 the lost decade for nothing. Two unpaid for wars for over a decade , and a Medicare prescription plan in 2004 all unpaid for by republicans ... Only in America , land of the free ? Home of the stupid...
Feb 21, 2013 10:35PM
Who gets to give an opinion in the polls? If America wants to spend itself to the death,then that's where we are headed! America,you have spoken,and I hope you enjoy the ride to the bottom,it should be a fast one! I hope your rubber Government checks help you bounce.
Feb 21, 2013 10:04PM
Of course.  Most people find it in bad taste to acknowledge that POTUS is a shameless liar.
Feb 21, 2013 9:46PM
Where the hell do they find these people they are polling? I know people all over the United States and I don't know one who supports Obama. But then again, I am mostly in contact with educated people.
Feb 21, 2013 9:33PM
If  it weren't for Obama the Republicans would have done collapsed the country.
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