Numbers Discredit Obama’s Attempt To Link Debt Limit Fight With ‘Extremist’ Few

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Even as President Barack Obama attempted at a Tuesday press conference to exile Congressional conservatives to some imaginary, relegated minority backwater of public opinion for their tough stance against raising the Federal debt limit, FOX News released a poll that shows it’s the President who’s actually in the minority — by a wide margin.

The poll, which measured responses from 952 registered voters, found that 58 percent would vote against raising the Federal debt ceiling if they were in Congress, while only 37 would vote in favor of the hike.

Continuing two weeks of aggravated, violent rhetoric from Democrats angry that the House GOP refuses to pass a so-called “clean” continuing resolution to fund the government, Obama said Republicans are using an “extortion routine” that forces him and future Presidents to “pay a ransom…for Congress to do its basic job [of approving government spending].”

Obama’s speech was a reiteration of previous talking points, as he again pledged not to negotiate with House conservatives over possible piecemeal funding measures ahead of an Oct. 17 debt limit deadline.

Rather, said the President, he would negotiate with the House — which holds the Constitutional power of the purse — only after it approves the standalone increase in the debt ceiling he’s requesting.

Juxtapose Obama’s dogged commitment to a no-strings-attached debt limit increase with this from the FOX News poll:

More than half of Democrats would vote in favor of increasing the debt ceiling (57 percent), while 38 percent would vote against doing so.

At the same time, 62 percent of voters want Congress to raise the limit only after agreeing on “major cuts in government spending.”  Far fewer – 27 percent – believe the limit must be increased and that is it “reckless” to even debate not doing so.

Even Democrats, by a 48-42 percent margin, are more likely to say spending cuts must accompany an increase in the debt limit.

More than half of Democrats would vote in favor of increasing the debt ceiling (57 percent), while 38 percent would vote against doing so.

A wider topical poll by the Pew Research Center asked slightly different questions, but similarly found that Obama shares an equal measure of blame, in the public eye, for his refusal to discuss actual spending cuts as part of a debt limit increase.

The polls, as always, operate in a vacuum of their sponsors’ own making, but they do reveal that the current fight isn’t the simple case of a few conservative “extremists” holding the circumspect majority hostage to their ideology — as the President and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have repeatedly said.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.