Over the last several weeks, polls have been pretty consistent about public attitudes on jobs: Americans are desperate to see Washington act, and they’re broadly supportive of the ideas proposed by Democrats. The latest numbers from CNN confirms this, but this poll adds an important twist.
CNN asked respondents for their take on each of the ideas in the American Jobs Act — payroll tax cut, jobs for teachers/first responders, infrastructure investments, unemployment aid, increased taxes on millionaires and billionaires — and every component enjoyed broad support. Indeed, the two most popular ideas were increased taxes on the wealthy (76% support) and aid to states to save public-sector jobs (75% support).
But it’s worth taking the next step and looking at the cross-tabs (pdf). We can see, for example, what Republicans think about these same ideas, and appreciate the massive disconnect between GOP voters and the GOP lawmakers presumably reflecting their wishes.
Here, for example, is the breakdown of what self-identified Republican voters think of the components of President Obama’s American Jobs Act, as it currently exists in the U.S. Senate:
Do you favor or oppose “cutting the payroll tax for all American workers”?
Republicans in favor: 58%
Republicans opposed: 40%
Do you favor or oppose “providing federal money to state governments to allow them to hire teachers and first responders”?
Republicans in favor: 63%
Republicans opposed: 36%
Do you favor or oppose “increasing federal spending to build and repair roads, bridges, and schools”?
Republicans in favor: 54%
Republicans opposed: 46%
Do you favor or oppose “increasing federal aid to unemployed workers”?
Republicans in favor: 36%
Republicans opposed: 63%
Do you favor or oppose “increasing the taxes paid by people who make more than one million dollars a year”?
Republicans in favor: 56%
Republicans opposed: 43%
Remember, overall, each of these ideas enjoy broad national support, but I’m highlighting the opinions of Republicans only. And in four of the five key parts to the Democratic plan, self-identified GOP voters approve of Obama’s ideas, in some cases by wide margins.
I mention this in part to show just how mainstream the American Jobs Act is, but also to note the chasm between Republican voters and Republican policymakers. With 63% of the GOP’s rank-and-file supporting, for example, aid to states to protect teachers’ and first responders’ jobs, it’s tempting to think at least some GOP lawmakers in Washington would support the idea. But in reality, that’s just not the case — literally zero Republicans on Capitol Hill are willing to even allow a vote on a popular jobs idea, during a jobs crisis, that even their own party’s voters strongly support.
Congratulations, congressional Republicans. You’re now far more extreme than your own supporters.