The recent debt ceiling debate brought the nation the closest its ever been to defaulting on the country’s debt. Also, Americans have shown that they would rather see their lawmakers focus on creating jobs than on cutting costs, at least according to a new New York T’imes/CBS News Poll.
The poll found that a shocking 82 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job. This is the highest disapproval rating in the history of the poll, which started in 1977. Four out of five Americans said that the debt ceiling debate was more about gaining a political advantage than about doing what’s best for the country. Nearly 75 percent of respondents claim that the debate did harm to the image of the United States around the world.
President Obama was protected from much of the blame. Instead, most of the blame was placed on the Republicans, who’ve engaged in fierce negotiating tactics designed to undermine the president. Over 72 percent of those polled disapproved of how the Republicans handled the debate, while 66 percent disapproved of the Democrats.
President Obama came out better than Congress, with a disapproval rating of 47 percent. Although he is better off than his Congressional counterparts, this approval rating is a disappointment relative to recent poll results.
The Tea Party’s public image has also suffered. Rather than seeing them as a group that makes America better, many are seeing them as a political obstruction. The group is viewed unfavorably by 40 percent of the American public. This is a large increase relative to the 29 percent disapproval rating they had back in April. Many see the Tea Party and the Republicans as being the cause of the stalemate for their unwillingness to negotiate with the president.
Quite a few Americans agreed with the Republican argument that spending cuts are necessary, but felt that creating jobs should take priority. Over 44 percent of the poll respondents claim that debt ceiling cuts were not deep enough. But two-thirds of respondents said that job creation must be more important. Also, half of all Americans felt that the debt ceiling debate should have included an increase in tax revenue.