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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51Comments
Feb 21, 2013 9:30PM
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Walmart is no longer the best deals around. After Sam passed they changed for the worse and have a don't care attitude toward consumers. It has become a greed stricken giant and should change their name to We Love Money.
Feb 21, 2013 8:24PM
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I am part of the "public" and there is no way in h-e-double hockey sticks that I agree with Oblame-ah's lies.
Feb 21, 2013 8:03PM
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Repukelicans, Looneytarians and Teabagtards = Imbeciles, Whiners and Losers

 

Also in the news, another false Christian in Texas doing their usual evil deeds, by abandoning a baby placed in a plastic bag. Repukelicans are disgusting human excrement!

Burn in hell a$$wipes!

 

God bless my Compassionate Christian Socialist America!

Feb 21, 2013 7:26PM
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No one would patronize a business with a 55% approval rating.
Feb 21, 2013 7:24PM
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The 2% reduction in spending with sequester, and still project a defecit for the year tells you there are NO real cuts in spending. It would be the same as me projecting I will spend $100,000 next year knowing I only make $50,000, so I revise it to $80,000 and declare it is a savings. Obama math.
Feb 21, 2013 7:19PM
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So what? Generally speaking americans dont even know which coast Washington D C is on. Seeking popular consensus is largely a media sales job equal to anything Goebbels could have cooked up for Nazi causes. As far as the sequester is concerned-NO COMPROMISE. Compromise is how we got into this fiscal mess. As painful as it may be, I believe the only way for the american  people to wake up is for spending cuts, loss of government jobs, reductions in giveaways, all to be dramatically reduced, even at risk of recession.

If public opinion were a valid consideration for legisation, we wouldnt have Omama care or $5 gasoline.

Feb 21, 2013 7:00PM
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I think the reason the public sides with Obama, is because the public doesn't understand all of the facts.  The Obama scare tactics are working.  Remember when Bush scared America into attacking Iraq?  Same thing here, the Obama machine is working overtime to scare America into submission.  People don't learn, an emergency every week in the Obama White House, and the sheeple just follow along.  Too bad.

Feb 21, 2013 6:14PM
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Tax and spend, tax and spend- that all dumbocrats know how to do!!!!!!!!!!
Feb 21, 2013 6:12PM
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Yeah, but this is the same dumb group that re-elected him.
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