As Democrats scramble to rescue their massive spending bills amid internal divisions between moderates in the party and the far left, they are getting little support outside their own base, according to the latest I&I/TIPP poll.
Over the weekend, President Joe Biden had to contend with not getting his bi-partisan $1.1 trillion infrastructure plan passed through the Democratically controlled House without having a vote on the $3.5 trillion spending plan. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had to scuttle plans for a vote on the $1.1 trillion infrastructure plan after far-left members of her caucus said they’d vote against that bill if they didn’t pass the larger one first.
Now some Democrats are all but conceding that they don’t have the votes for a spending package of that magnitude. How this all plays out is anyone’s guess at this moment.
But what is clear from the I&I TIPP poll is that only Democrats strongly support this gargantuan tax-and-spend plan. Republicans and independents oppose it.
The I&I/TIPP poll is carried out monthly by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, I&I’s polling partner. The latest was conducted from Sept. 29-Oct. 2 and includes responses from 1,308 adults surveyed, giving it a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.
Respondents were asked two questions related to the spending plan: “How closely are you following news stories about a plan in Congress to spend $3.5 trillion and raise taxes by $2 trillion?” and “Generally speaking, to what extent do you support or oppose the plan to spend $3.5 trillion and raise taxes by $2 trillion?”
Despite the stakes involved and the impact this plan would have on the economy, only 59% of those surveyed say they are paying close attention to the developments surrounding it. More than a third (35%) say they aren’t following this story closely.
Details of what is actually in the $3.5 trillion plan, or how Democrats plan to raise $2 trillion to help pay for it, remain sketchy. Republicans contend that Democrats used a variety of gimmicks to make the spending plan seem cheaper by phasing out or ending new entitlement programs with the next decade, something unlikely to happen once the programs are in place. Critics of the bill say the real cost is more like $5 trillion.
Nevertheless, the I&I/TIPP poll found not surprisingly that the vast majority of Republicans (79%) oppose the plan. Fifty-nine percent say they “strongly oppose” it.
Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan also failed to capture majority support among independents, with only 45% backing it, while 51% oppose it. Nearly a third of independents (32%) say they strongly oppose the plan.
This opposition was more than offset by the overwhelming support for the new spending and taxes by Democrats. The poll found that 88% of Democrats support the plan, with 51% saying they strongly support it.
The findings undercut a key campaign promise of Biden, who ran as a moderate that could unite the country.
Because of the strong backing by Democrats, the plan gets 55% approval overall, with 42% opposing it. But there is an almost even split between those who strongly support and strongly oppose the plan (28% and 29%, respectively).
Other notable and sometimes surprising differences:
- The poll found that support was strongest among urban dwellers (72%) and weakest among those living in rural areas (42%). Most of those living in the suburbs (51%) also oppose the plan.
- The poll found that men were more supportive than women (59% to 50%), blacks and Hispanics far more than whites (73% vs. 47%), and the young more than the elderly (67% of those 25-44 vs. 44% of those 65 and older).
- Despite the sharp tax hikes being proposed for corporations, the wealthy, and investors, those who have money in the stock market were more supportive than those who did not (62% vs. 50%).
These findings come amid crumbling support for Biden, growing concerns about the direction of the country, the exploding national debt, and worries that inflation will be a long-term problem.
A separate I&I/TIPP poll found that most Americans want the government to cut spending to rein in inflation. It also found that, contrary to assertions by the Biden administration that inflation was a temporary problem, fully 68% think it is “a long-term problem that will be with us for a while.”
As we noted: “Businesses and families in the country are hurting and afraid of inflation, and they believe that big government spending is unwise.”
As a result, Biden is in what appears to be a no-win situation. If he manages to get his $3.5 trillion, or something like it, it could backfire if inflation continues at this current high rate. If he fails to get his massive spending agenda approved by his own party, it will be another sign of weakness that will haunt his presidency.