Conservative politicians have eagerly embraced Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) radical fiscal year 2013 budget proposal, which would slash social spending to the bone while preserving or extending all tax breaks for the wealthy. President Barack Obama, in contrast, is trying to make the case that the Ryan budget has its priorities completely wrong and that it should be rejected.
Judging from recent public opinion data, the president is likely to find a receptive audience for his arguments. In a March Bloomberg poll, the public was asked about the most effective approach for economic growth and job creation. By a 51-41 margin, respondents endorsed the Obama-style approach of government investments in infrastructure, education, and alternative energy over the Ryan-style approach of spending cuts and tax cuts.
In the same poll, the public expressed great skepticism about the current tax break for hedge-fund and private-equity managers, which allows them to pay only 15 percent on their share of profits—a tax break the Ryan budget protects. By an overwhelming 68-17 margin, the public deemed this tax break “unreasonable.”
Conservatives believe that the more the public hears about Rep. Ryan’s “marvelous” budget, the more they’ll like it. These data suggest the reverse is likely to be true.
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.