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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 02:38 PM ET, 10/12/2011

The Dem game plan: Use public opinion to `wear down the GOP wall of obstruction’

Want to know why the White House and Dems will continue pressuring the GOP to pass all or parts of Obama’s jobs plan, despite clear signs that Republicans have no intention whatsover of relenting on their opposition?

These new findings, from the forthcoming NBC/WSJ poll, tell the story pretty clearly — they show that the provisions of the jobs bill Republicans filibustered last night are extremely popular:

When asked simply if Congress should pass the legislation or not, 30 percent of respondents answer yes, while 22 percent say no; 44 percent have no opinion.
But when the legislation’s details are included in a follow-up question — that it would cut payroll taxes, fund new road construction, extend unemployment benefits, and that it would be paid for by increasing taxes on the wealthy — 63 percent say they favor the bill and 32 percent oppose it.
What’s more, 64 percent of respondents agree with the statement that it is a “good idea” to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations, because they should pay their fair share and can afford to pay more to help fund programs and government operations.

Note that 44 percent who say they have no opinion on whether Congress should pass the overall jobs plan before people are told what’s actually in it. That may mean there’s a huge bloc of persuadable voters out there. Obama and Dems hope to win their sympathy by getting the message through to them that the overall jobs bill Republicans are blocking contains provisions people strongly support.

Along these lines, Senator Carl Levin made some very interesting comments on the Senate floor today. He conceded that the Democratic majority probably couldn’t overcome GOP opposition through procedural means. But then he added this:

“There’s another way to overcome a filibuster. The other way to overcome a filibuster is for public opinion to wear down the Republican wall of obstruction. And that is probably the only practical path available for overcoming this filibuster at this time in this Congress. So I hope that the president will use his bully pulpit to make clear to the American people that it is the obstructionism of filibustering Republicans that prevents us from taking action on a jobs bill.”

That, of course, is exactly what Obama is trying to do. Yes, I know, Republicans are probably right to conclude that in the end, Obama will pay the largest political price for the bad economy — even if Republicans are blocking job creation policies the public supports. And, yes, I know that the political science literature tells us that the bully pulpit is vastly overrated as a tool for moving both public and Congressional opinion.

But you know what? Obama and Dems seem prepared to subject those theories to a pretty rigorous test.

By  |  02:38 PM ET, 10/12/2011

 
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