Posted by: Joshua Green on February 14, 2012
President Obama’s budget, released yesterday, has come under attack from Republicans for all sorts of reasons. Two of the biggest ones are its proposed cuts to military spending — traditionally something Democrats have shied away from for fear of seeming weak and inviting Republican attacks — and its lack of any cuts to the major entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, which are the biggest drivers of projected future deficits (mainly the first two).
These attacks are, for the most part, perfectly valid: Obama’s budget does (and does not) do all the things that Republicans are griping about. And it doesn’t do much to cut the deficit, which Republicans are griping about, too. But that doesn’t mean the budget will be unpopular with the general public. To the contrary, according to a United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll out this morning, Obama’s budget ought to be wildly popular because it hews so closely to public desires about what should and should not be cut in the interest of reducing the federal deficit.
In a nutshell, any politician looking to cut Social Security, Medicare, and — to a lesser extent — Medicaid does so at his or her own peril. On the other hand, poll respondents seemed perfectly willing to entertain cuts in military spending. All of this is nicely laid out in the chart above.
Yet another complaint from Republicans is that Obama’s budget is a purely political document. That’s valid, too. But if this latest poll is any indication, it’s pretty good politics.