Congressional Republicans sincerely believed that if they simply cried “no tax increases,” over and over again, the public would rally behind them and Democrats would back down in the debt-ceiling fight.

A new Gallup poll reinforces what has been true for a long while: the GOP made the wrong assumption. (thanks to B.A.)

Americans’ preferences for deficit reduction clearly favor spending cuts to tax increases, but most Americans favor a mix of the two approaches.

It’s not even close. Only a fifth (20%) support the Republican position of crafting a debt-reduction agreement based solely on spending cuts, while 30% want to see a deal made up “mostly” of spending cuts, but including some new revenue.

The most popular option? A plurality of 32% support a 50-50 split, with equal amounts of spending cuts and tax increases. This is what Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recommended two weeks ago, and it was largely ignored. It’s wild-eyed radicalism supported only by extreme socialists — which just happens to the most popular approach to debt reduction with the American mainstream.

Also note, the approach demanded by congressional Republicans isn’t even especially popular with their own voters. Only 26% of self-identified Republicans support a spending-cuts-only approach.

GOP officials on Capitol Hill simply take it as a given that the country supports their hard line. Indeed, Republicans are so convinced of this, they’re ready to crash the economy on purpose, assuming the electorate stands behind them.

The American mainstream just doesn’t look at tax increases, especially on the wealthy, as some scandalous move. Republicans have gambled and lost.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.