Obama, Democrats Well Positioned For Budget Debate

As Washington prepares to fully engage in the debate over President Obama’s budget, two new national surveys from Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner show that the president and his allies are well positioned to win the battle over his budget. Obama remains extremely popular, not only with his base but also with the broad middle of the American electorate. More important, both he and Congressional Democrats hold a truly dominant position over Republicans in Congress on the most important issues of the day, with voters preferring the president on issues such as the economy, energy and the deficit by 20 or 30 points each.

Building on this already strong foundation, Obama’s budget is based on a set of priorities that are strongly in tune with the nation’s. By nearly two-to-one margins, voters back two of the central tenets of Obama’s budget – the need to rebalance our tax code so the middle class pays less and the wealthiest pay their fair share, and the need to restore America’s economic strength by making long-term investments to create new jobs and industries – over Republican counterarguments on taxes and the deficit.

These arguments could be potent wedge issues that define a new coalition as they win decisive support not only from Democrats and independents but moderate Republicans as well. Meanwhile, voters resoundingly accept the budget’s deficit reduction goals and reject claims that the budget would damage the economy by raising taxes. Finally, Democrats have every reason to be confident they can win the big debates on the president’s budget proposal, particularly energy, health care, taxes and the deficit. This analysis is based on a national survey of 1,000 2008 voters, including 170 interviewed on cell phones (120 unweighted) and 830 likely 2010 voters (863 unweighted), conducted for Democracy Corps by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner March 5-8, 2009, and a national survey of 800 likely 2010 voters conducted by Public Opinion Strategies in conjunction with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for National Public Radio March 10-12 & 14, 2009.

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