U.S. President Barack Obama (L) and Vice President Joe Biden walk from the White House to the Treasury for an event honoring outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in Washington January 16, 2013. (Photo : Reuters)
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows a majority of Americans say a compromise over the debt ceiling shouldn't be tied to spending cuts.
A majority also approve of the job the President is doing, and more Americans approve of the way he is handling the economy than disapprove.
In addition, more Americans trust Obama to handle the debt ceiling issue than trust Republicans.
In the poll, 55 percent of respondents said they approve of the overall job Obama is doing, compared to 41 percent who disapprove.
The president's numbers drop a bit when respondents are asked about his handling of the economy specifically: 50 percent approve and 47 percent disapprove.
But only 36 percent of Americans think a resolution to the debt ceiling issue should be tied to spending cuts. A full 58 percent said they should be resolved as different issues.
While a majority of Americans can't agree on who they trust to handle the debt ceiling, 49 percent of them trust Obama more, while only 35 percent trust the Republicans.
Congress is still battling a perception problem, as only 19 percent of respondents say they approve of the job Congress is doing.
Of course "Congress" also includes the other guy. When asked specifically about a particular party, legislators numbers went up.
A full 37 percent of people say they approve of the job the Democrats in Congress are doing. On the other side, 24 percent said they approve of the job Republicans are doing. Both numbers are higher than for Congress as a whole, so obviously lumping all legislators together drives the numbers down, artificially deflating approval ratings for a body with varied membership.
The numbers would probably be even higher if people were asked specifically about their own representation.
These numbers offer a good outlook for the president as he heads into another round of tense negotiations over the economy. The first debt ceiling debates in the summer of 2011 resulted in the fiscal cliff and sequestration compromises, as well as a drop in the credit rating of the United States.
Other ratings agencies are threatening to do the same this time around if legislators can't come to a workable compromise that doesn't just push decisions down the road.
But Obama needn't worry about his reelection this time. Republican lawmakers still need to, and if this poll is any indication, the patience of the American public may be wearing thin.