Republicans Are Losing the Sequestration Battle

When asked what to cut, Americans wanted most programs to remain funded as is or to receive more funding.

By + More

Do Americans really know what they want?

It's the countdown to the sequester. Do Americans want that? Do they want cuts? Do they want Democrats and Republicans to work together to get this done?

Well if you look at the latest Pew Research polls the answers are a bit confusing.

[See a collection of political cartoons on sequestration and the fiscal cliff.]

Two weeks ago, 72 percent of Americans cited reducing the deficit and cutting spending as items that should be the president and Congress's top priority. However, this week, when specifically asked what to cut, Americans polled didn't want to cut much at all! As a matter of fact, many programs they wanted to remain funded as is or to increase, with the exception of a small percentage that wanted less funding to go overseas for foreign aid.

The polls also show that nine out of 10 Democrats support the president, his plan, his message, and the way he is bringing his message about what sequestration means to the people. Meanwhile on the right, Republicans are trying to blame the president for the sequester and for the fact that they aren't listening to the American people. Republicans state the president isn't leading with this sequestration soap box road tour, but the polls show that the American people like and believe what the president is saying. As the polls show once again, just like with the fiscal cliff, that if this sequester takes place it will be the GOP, not the president or Democrats, that voters will blame, despite Republicans stating otherwise.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican Party.]

I don't know if Republicans feel that if they push hard enough they'll get that square peg into the round pole, but there are a few things that are clear. Americans want their stuff; but they want a budget and cuts. It seems voters, Democrats and Republicans, all agree we need cuts; but how much, what and how we cut, and in what time frame is problematic and where the impasse is. The president has been and still remains clear on position to close the tax loopholes. Republicans argue that won't solve the spending problem—but it's a start. Once that is agreed upon in a bipartisan manner, then both sides can perhaps tackle the task of where any spending can be reduced with regard to larger budget items like Medicare.

So the Republican message is pointing their finger of blame at the president and claiming he isn't leading them because he's not sitting down with Congress like the leader of a daycare center. Rather, he is taking his message to the people and asking Congress to do the job they were elected to do: work together to get this done.

And many Americans feel that in the 11th hour something will be done, however temporary. Or so it would seem by the polls, more politicians, especially those in the GOP, will lose more seats in the House and the Senate.

  • Read Peter Roff: On Sequestration, Obama Wants to Have His Cake and Eat It, Too
  • Read Boris Epshteyn: Sequestration! So What?
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad.