The public wants and expects new revenue

The new CBS News poll includes two interesting results, one more encouraging than the other.

The first is the top-line question of whether the public wants to see the debt ceiling increased or not. Unfortunately, public confusion is proving to be a tough nut to crack, and opponents of an increase still outnumber supporters. That said, it’s worth noting that the percentage of Americans who want to see the limit raised has nearly doubled over the last month, from 24% to 46%.

But since most Americans don’t even know what the debt ceiling is, this is arguably the more important result.

Most Americans think any agreement on the budget and debt ceiling should include a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, according to a new poll from CBS News.

The survey, conducted from July 15-17, suggests that Americans side with President Obama on what a deal to raise the debt ceiling should include: the president has repeatedly called for tax increases for wealthy Americans, as well the elimination of tax loopholes that benefit corporate interests, to go along with spending cuts as part of a “balanced approach” to lower the government’s deficit.

According to the poll, 66 percent of Americans believe that the deal to raise the debt ceiling should include both spending cuts and tax increases. Only 28 percent said they thought the deal should contain spending cuts exclusively, and a mere three percent wanted it to include tax increases only.

Last week, President Obama told reporters the public is already “sold” on the need for a balanced approach to debt reduction, causing House Speaker John Boehner and the right to push back, insisting that Americans agree with their spending-cuts-only approach.

It was a bizarre line for Republicans to complain about, since their position isn’t popular at all.

Referencing a collection of polls Greg Sargent pulled together last week, we now have five recent national polls asking the public for their preference: do they want a debt-reduction plan that only relies on cuts or do they want a combination of cuts and increased revenue (the only-revenue approach tends to poll under 5%). The results are entirely one-sided as my new chart helps show:

The blue columns show public support for a balanced debt-reduction plan including cuts and revenue; the red columns show support for reducing the debt exclusively through spending cuts. Republican lawmakers genuinely seem to believe that their approach, the red columns, is the popular way to go. In fact, they’re so invested in this, they just might crash the economy on purpose unless the GOP gets exactly what it wants.

Whether Republicans realize it or not, they’re losing this debate, pushing the nation to the brink with a policy Americans don’t like.