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Today's Top News
Obama Supporters Strongly Opposed to Deal Extending Bush Tax Cuts
Okay, we now have our first poll measuring the impact on the Democratic base of Obama's support for a temporary extension of all the Bush tax cuts. Suffice it to say this is a major, make-or-break issue with them that could have real political ramifications for the President and Congressional Democrats.
The poll, done by the respected non-partisan firm Survey USA, surveyed over 1,000 people who contributed time or money to Obama in 2008, and found intense, overwhelming opposition among them to Obama's support for a temporary extension of the tax cuts for the rich. This supports the notion that there may indeed be a serious liberal revolt in reaction to it.
Indeed, majorities of people who contributed to Obama in 2008 say they are less likely to support Obama and Democrats because of his backing for the temporary extension.
I got an advance look at the poll, which was commissioned by MoveOn, and you can read the polling memo right here. The key findings:
The poll shows clearly that these contributors are deeply opposed (74%) to a deal with Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax breaks for those making over $250,000 a year. The depth of opposition to a deal is severe with former Obama contributors saying that they are less likely (57%) to support Democrats who support this deal in 2012.
A majority of the former Obama contributors surveyed also say that the President's deal also makes them less likely (51%) to contribute to his reelection campaign in 2012.
So 57 percent of Obama contributors say they are less likely to support Congressional Dems for reelection if they back the temporary extension, meaning there could be a political cost for Dems for embracing it. And more than half, 51 percent, say they are less likely to shell out cash for Obama's reelection in 2012, suggesting it could damage his ability to turn out the same coalition that elected him in 2008.
These findings goes directly to the heart of a question that commentators are starting to ask: Does the left's anger matter? Will it have any impact? No doubt some will argue that it can only help Obama to anger the left.
But clearly there's also a real risk that this kind of deal -- and the broader strategy the White House appears to be embracing -- could further demoralize the base. While Adam Serwer is right to note that over time passions on the left could subside, particularly if Obama delivers on other core liberal priorities such as the repeal of don't ask don't tell, it's also perfectly possible that trading away core liberal priorities will levy major political costs on Obama and Democrats in general.
UPDATE, 12:18 p.m.: In fairness to the White House, it should be noted that this poll was taken yesterday in the lead up to the final announcement of the deal. So it's possible that some of the specifics of the deal -- the extension of unemployment benefits and other concessions Obama won -- might end up mitigating this somewhat. That said, it has been widely known for days that the centerpiece of this deal would be a temporary extension of all the cuts, and this poll does show overwhelming opposition to that central concession by Obama. I've edited the above to reflect this.UPDATE, 12:39 p.m.: I'm told the poll was actually conducted beginning at 6:17 p.m., around the time of Obama's announcement, and for a few hours after that. So it's perfectly possible this could partly reflect reaction to the deal itself.