Americans aren’t buying what Republicans are selling

AMERICANS AREN’T BUYING WHAT REPUBLICANS ARE SELLING…. The top line of the new USA Today/Gallup poll offers a fairly predictable result: Americans are closely split on “significant” cuts in domestic spending. A narrow plurality (47%) opposes the idea, but nearly as many (45%) support it. The partisan gap is enormous — by 2-to-1 margin, Dems oppose more cuts; by the same margin, Republicans support them.

That’s not the interesting part. This is.

[Poll respondents] overwhelmingly oppose making major changes to Medicare. By 2-to-1, they support minor changes or none at all to control costs, rather than major changes or a complete overhaul. Even a third of Republicans say the government should not try to control the costs of Medicare.

Just yesterday, the NYT noted that Republicans “are calculating that the political ground has shifted, making the public, concerned about the mounting national debt, receptive to proposals” to reshape Medicare. Leading GOP voices have been pressing this point for weeks.

They’re completely wrong, and just as importantly, they’re on the wrong side of public opinion. Americans aren’t “receptive” to radical Medicare changes; the mainstream wants the exact opposite.

And then there was this gem:

[Poll respondents] favor imposing higher taxes on families with household incomes of $250,000 and above, as Obama has endorsed: 59% support the idea, 37% oppose it.

So, let’s review. Americans, by wide margins, want Medicare left alone and higher taxes on the wealthy. Republicans want Medicare eliminated and massive tax breaks for the wealthy.

Note to Democrats: you can negotiate from a position of strength. Americans aren’t buying what Republicans are selling.