What did the debt deal solve? Perhaps not much according to a new one-night Gallup poll. Just as many Americans said the recent agreement was as much a step backward as a step forward in addressing the federal debt. Exactly half say it did neither. Another 41 percent think the agreement will make the economy worse rather than better. Republicans and conservatives — declared the winners in the negotiations by the pundit class — are more likely to see the deal as a step backward then are Democrats or liberals. Republicans, and especially conservatives, are also more likely than Democrats to say the agreement will make the economy worse.

Obama slips in Pa.: President Obama faces a 54 percent disapproval rating among registered voters in Pennsylvania in a new Quinnipiac poll, up six points from June and a bad omen for his 2012 re-election prospects in a state he won by 11 percentage points over John McCain (R-Az.) in 2008. Mitt Romney – who leads in the race for the GOP nomination in the state – has pulled into a 44 to 42 percent dead heat with Obama in a hypothetical general election matchup after trailing the incumbent in mid-June by a seven-point margin. The shift in Obama’s political footing arrives despite his 44 to 37 percent edge over congressional Republicans in behaving more responsibly in debt negotiations.  

Elected officials acted like “spoiled children”: In yet another expression of utter distaste for Washington politics, more than three-quarters of Americans in a CNN poll conducted Monday night say Washington elected officials behaved like spoiled children during the debt ceiling debate; only 17 percent say they behaved like responsible adults.

Consumer spending down, then up?: Americans cut back on spending by $21.9 billion, or 0.2 percent, from May to June, stunting 11 consecutive months of increases according to a Commerce Department survey of businesses. In a separate survey of U.S. adults, Gallup finds Americans report spending an average $74 per day in stores, restaurants and on gas in July, up from $69 in June and a buck shy of its highest mark in the past year – $75 in December 2010 – as the holiday shopping season hit its peak, according to Gallup. What to make of the two figures? The negative numbers for June from the government are bad news for the economy, but there’s a good chance they’ll recover somewhat in July.

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