As The Associated Press reports:
Americans are plenty angry at Congress in the aftermath of the debt crisis and Republicans could pay the greatest price, a new Associated Press-GfK poll suggests.
The poll finds the tea party has lost support, Republican House Speaker John Boehner is increasingly unpopular and people are warming to the idea of not just cutting spending but also raising taxes – anathema to the GOP – just as both parties prepare for another struggle with deficit reduction.
To be sure, there is plenty of discontent to go around. The poll finds more people are down on their own member of Congress, not just the institution, an unusual finding in surveys and one bound to make incumbents particularly nervous. In interviews, some people said the debt standoff itself, which caused a crisis of confidence to ripple through world markets, made them wonder whether lawmakers are able to govern at all.
This is particularly interesting news as Colorado prepares to vote on Proposition 103, a measure that would temporarily raise taxes in order to fund public schools. If Prop. 103 passes, it would send a clear signal that railing only about spending and budget cuts isn’t going to get you elected in 2012.
Results like these also make us question the wisdom of Democrats in Colorado trying to accuse Republicans of supporting tax increases and being too vague in their proclamations. For example, this press release from earlier this week out of the Colorado Democratic Party:
As Washington Republican leaders have signaled that they prefer to increase payroll taxes for working families, Colorado House Minority Leader Sal Pace offered his assessment of the GOP position and their priorities.
“2.5 million Coloradans saved $1.7 billion in income taxes due to President Obama’s payroll tax holiday, and now all of a sudden Washington Republicans don’t know whether or not to support this measure again for 2012.” said Representative Pace. “I wish I could say that I’m shocked or surprised, but this is just typical Washington politics at its worst, out-of-touch, tone-deaf, and ignorant of the interests of the middle class. Extending the payroll tax holiday is a no-brainer, and I hope that Scott Tipton calls on Speaker Boehner when he’s here next week to extend this important tax cut for the middle class.”
While Republicans opposed closing any tax loopholes that affect the wealthy during the recent debt ceiling negotiations and many Republican Presidential candidates have signed a pledge to “oppose any and all tax increases,” the payroll tax holiday has provided relief to 160 million middle-class families. Whether Presidential candidates stick to their pledge, and whether Republican leaders in Washington fight as hard for middle-class families as they fought for corporate jet owners, remains to be seen.
The press release gets much more specific in the last paragraph, but the quick takeaway from this release is that Republicans are bad because they are supporting tax increases. The problem is that many voters, not just Democrats, are beginning to see tax increases as necessary — which means that Democrats like Sal Pace need to be very careful about making sure their message is not simplified to sound like Republicans are pushing tax increases in general. Democrats should be supporting tax increases — though certainly not the payroll tax increase — and stand up as responsible leaders. The public may not like tax increases, but as recent polls continue to show, they like irresponsible and ineffective leadership even less.