Public rejects GOP on debt, blames economy on Bush

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned his party yesterday that Republicans would get the blame if the debt ceiling isn’t raised and the economy takes a hit. On this, he’s right.

Voters would blame congressional Republicans more than the Obama administration if the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling is not raised, according to a new poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University.

Forty-eight percent of those polled said Republicans would be mainly responsible if the debt ceiling is not raised, compared to 34 percent who said the Obama administration.

Indeed, going through the Quinnipiac poll, there’s not much in the way of good news for Republicans. Of particular significance, 67% of the public wants a debt-reduction agreement that includes tax hikes for the wealthy and corporations, not just spending cuts. Just 25% agree with the position demanded by the congressional GOP.

What’s more, the public is even on board with Democratic frames — a plurality see President Obama’s proposals raise revenues as “closing loopholes,” not “tax hikes.”

Also of interest, by a two-to-one margin, Americans blame George W. Bush for the state of the economy, not President Obama. This is consistent with three other recent national polls, all of which show the American mainstream not inclined to blame the president for the weak economy.

And while no one in Washington is popular, Obama fares far better than members of Congress: the president has a 47% approval rating, congressional Democrats are at 28%, and congressional Republicans’ approval rating stands at 26%.

Looking through the results, the public is still in a dour, pessimistic mood, but on the central political arguments of the day, the numbers also suggest Americans aren’t buying what Republicans are selling.