National Public Radio always knows which party funds it, and which party would rather shut it down. On Thursday night’s All Things Considered, their top story was “On Fiscal Cliff, Majority of Public Sides with Democrats, Pew Poll Says.”
The NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll may say that 46 percent wanted Congress to "take the lead role in setting policy for the country," compared to only 40 percent wanting the President to take the lead, and then in a follow-up, 25 percent said they meant House Republicans should take a lead role, compared to just 7 percent saying Senate Democrats. NPR prefers to start its night with Pew’s Andy Kohut announcing that the public somehow finds Obama is making a much more serious effort to reduce the deficit:
ROBERT SIEGEL: And Andy, you have a new poll out on deficit reduction options and how the public views the parties. First, who is seen as being more serious about cutting the deficit these days?
KOHUT: Well, by a wide margin, 55 percent to 28 percent, people think that President Obama is making a serious effort, relatively few, 28 percent say Republicans are doing the same. And it's part of a pattern that we see in this poll that the Democrats are just in a much stronger position with the public. President Obama's overall approval rating has surged to 55 percent, which is a good deal higher than President Bush's was in December of 2004 after his reelection.
And the Republican Party is seen as the party that takes extreme positions and the Democrats are seen as the party that's conciliatory, wants to make a deal. The Republicans have an image problem going into these negotiations.
SIEGEL: Now, you asked the people in this poll about different proposals for closing the budget deficit. First, generally, either raising taxes or cutting programs and it looks like raising taxes on the rich win hands down.
KOHUT: Doing things to the rich...
SIEGEL: Generally, yes.
KOHUT: ...really wins in this poll and many of the others that we've seen. This poll is very similar to others that we've taken where the public says let's make some cuts, let's raise some taxes. In general, a strong mandate to get this done. But when you ask people about specific cuts, they're very wary. A majority says, no, let's not cut military spending. People are opposed to - very opposed to cuts in - 77 percent - cuts in education funding or 58 percent funding to help low income people.
SIEGEL: But cap, say, mortgage income deduction?
KOHUT: Cap mortgage income deduction and they also say no. But if you say, limit the number of deductions a taxpayer can take, more aimed at wealthy people, you get a majority saying yes. And the other part of this is, more generally, the public favors a lot of proposals that would have the rich paying more. We have 69 percent saying they favored increasing income taxes on people who earn more than $250,000. We see 52 percent saying, let's increase rates on investment income.
Our national journalists often love to kvetch about how there isn’t “shared sacrifice,” but they’re not looking at these polls and chewing out the respondents for massively favoring taxing someone else....or asking how just taxing the Two Percent is going to pay for Obama’s ongoing spending binge. They can’t decide to be for cutting anything when it’s listed specifically. The enemy of a balanced budget, say the polls, is us.
But no one works harder to prevent spending cuts than our national media, starting with the taxpayer-funded broadcasters.