Debt Ceiling Negotiations: the GOP's Advantage

Speaker John Boehner should be heartened.  Results of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll show that Republicans have the advantage in negotiations with Democrats over a debt ceiling increase.

An article in today's Washington Post reveals that there's strong bipartisan support among Americans for the Republican positions on government debt and spending. 

Post reporters Lori Montgomery and Jon Cohen write:

... 55 percent of Democrats and half of Republicans and independents support a debt-limit deal that includes a steep reduction in the size of government. But 37 percent of Republicans, a third of independents and nearly a fifth of Democrats say they are against raising the debt limit, under any circumstances.

Importantly, the poll was conducted among adults, not registered or high propensity voters.  Among voters, the numbers may be even stronger for the GOP's negotiating positions.

The Post article leads with fears that failure to raise the debt ceiling will hurt the nation's economy, but this is a red herring.  At the end of the day, Congress will approve some sort of debt ceiling hike.  Of course, the terms are critical.  Moreover, if an impasse is reached in negotiations, which is likely, Boehner and House Republicans can advance a limited debt increase measure that involves strict conditions, as Dick Morris suggests.     

Currently, the GOP has the wind at its back on government spending and economic matters in its high stakes fight with President Obama.  As was reported by the Post on June 7:

The public opinion boost President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden has dissipated, and Americans' disapproval of how he is handling the nation's economy and the deficit has reached new highs...

Mr. Boehner's formula of a dollar in higher debt authorization for every dollar in spending cuts needs to be strictly adhered to.  And no new taxes or fees.    

Americans want less government and the nation's fiscal house set in order.  Mr. Boehner has the chance to clearly position the GOP favorably on both counts.  This latest debt ceiling battle could prove pivotal to Republicans as the nation moves toward the 2012 elections.