Over at the Washington Examiner, Philip Klein has a good analysis of a “a new USA Today/Gallup poll” which shows that, by and large, Republican arguments on spending are resonating with the American people:
This survey comes on the heels of a New York Times/CBS poll finding a plurality of Americans supporting the Ryan budget. While it’s far too early for either side to declare victory in the early stages of a long-term budget fight, we now have multiple polls suggesting that proposing changes to entitlement programs is not as politically toxic as we have been led to believe.
After the Ryan budget was proposed, Democrats were salivating and it became conventional wisdom that these programs still enjoyed their third-rail status and thus the GOP was taking a big risk by embracing changes to them. But if the opposite is true, and Democratic scare tactics prove ineffective, it will shatter a dynamic that has existed for decades that have made these programs untouchable in Washington.
To be sure, he notes, some Democratic critiques are resonating. “Two-thirds of Americans,” for example, “worry the Republican plan for reducing the budget deficit would cut Medicare and Social Security too much.”
That said, the real point to bear in mind that Klein raises in the last line quoted above. We may well be experiencing a paradigm shift in American politics, where, in times of crisis, American people see spending cuts and fiscal solvency as the driving issues, rather than increased government spending as a necessary stimulus. This paradigm has been shifting for thirty years — at least. Only it’s started to become particularly manifest in the past two years, with increasing popular opposition to the president’s big-spending initiatives.