With lawmakers in Washington continuing to struggle to reach an agreement to avoid the looming fiscal cliff, the results of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll released Wednesday showed that a majority of voters disapprove of House Speaker John Boehner's, R-Ohio, handling of the negotiations.
The poll showed that 54 percent of registered voters disapprove of Boehner's handling of the budget negotiations, while just 24 percent approve.
Boehner's negative rating reflects relatively weak support among members of his own party, with 39 percent of Republican voters saying that they approve of his handling of the negotiations compared to 37 percent that disapprove.
The relatively weak support among the GOP may reflect Boehner's willingness to include increased revenues as part of an agreement.
While Boehner has remained staunchly opposed to raising tax rates, he has proposed increasing revenues by closing tax loopholes and limiting deductions.
Sixty-seven percent of Democratic voters and 53 percent of Independent voters also disapprove of Boehner's handling of the negotiations.
Meanwhile, voters are split on President Barack Obama's handling of the negotiations, with 47 percent saying that they approve compared to 46 percent that disapprove.
Obama benefits from stronger support from within his own party, with 79 percent of Democratic voters saying they approve of his handling of the negotiations.
On the other hand, 85 percent of Republican voters and 51 percent of Independent voters disapprove of Obama's handling of the negotiations.
The president has recently held a number of campaign-style events in an attempt to increase public support for his proposal to extend the tax cuts for the middle-class but raise rates on income above $250,000 a year.
While some rank-and-file Republicans have indicated that they would be willing to accept higher tax rates on wealthy Americans, they want the increase in taxes to be combined with significant spending cuts and reform to entitlement programs.
Republican leaders such as Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., have accused the president of focusing only on tax hikes rather than offering a serious plan to reduce spending.
Unless Congress takes action, approximately $600 billion in automatic tax increases and government spending cuts are due to take effect at the end of the year.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., recently warned that the U.S. will go over the fiscal cliff unless Republicans agree to raise tax rates on wealthy Americans.
The Post-ABC survey of 861 registered voters was conducted December 5th through 9th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
by RTT Staff Writer
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