Conservatives Double Down on Unpopular Policies

Conservatives are relentlessly driving for immediate, deep cuts in domestic spending. And now they are doubling down on their extreme policies with a budget plan that includes severe spending cuts and aims to turn Medicare into a voucher system while cutting taxes for the rich.

President Barack Obama has severely criticized this budget plan, saying it is completely out of step with the country’s needs and values. Polling data suggest the public is having the same reaction to the conservatives’ budget. In a just-released Gallup poll, a strong 59-37 majority say next year’s budget should include an increase, not a cut, in taxes for those making more than $250,000.

The public is also far from wanting to end Medicare as we know it. Sixty-one percent in the Gallup poll favor only minor changes (34 percent) or none at all (27 percent) in the program. Another 18 percent support major changes and only a miniscule 13 percent say they are in favor of completely overhauling Medicare. The latter figure is significant since a “complete overhaul” is exactly what conservatives are proposing to do.

Ideology apparently blinds conservatives to the fact that many of their policies are extreme and out of step with the American public. With this budget, however, they may finally have gone so far that they will be unable to ignore the negative reaction to their proposals.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis, go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.