New Jersey Republicans and Democrats agree on one thing: voters of both parties are evenly split over the debt limit agreement recently reached in Washington, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released this week.
The question remains, however, of whether that is an indication that the handling of the pending debt default earlier this month was handled as a compromise that left both sides a little unhappy, or whether it was in fact a bad deal.
"The agreement seems to have made few New Jersey voters happy," said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University.
When residents or visitors of the handling of the debt crisis in an informal video survey at the beginning of this month, most had critical things to say about the politicians who were at that moment deciding what to do.
At best, Eli Chaoui, owner of in downtown Basking Ridge, expressed the hope that the country's economic problems could be addressed.
In the statewide poll, Democrats narrowly expressed support for the agreement, 40 percent to 38 percent, while Republicans also were split. According to the poll, 36 percent supported politicians' handling of the debt crisis, with 41 percent opposing the agreement.
New Jersey independents also leaned slightly toward opposition, with 39 percent in favor and 43 percent against, according to the Rutgers-Eagleton poll released on Wednesday.
Overall, 39 percent of New Jersey voters support the agreement and 41 percent oppose it, while 20 percent said they are not sure, the poll said. Those who paid the most attention to the debate also reported the most anger with Washington and the strongest belief that Washington "no longer works."
"Maybe it's the sign of a good compromise that partisans on both sides are disappointed, or perhaps it simply reflects that the contentious process really didn’t solve anything."
Results are from a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll of 615 registered voters conducted among both landline and cell phone households from August 9 to 15, with a margin of error for the full sample of +/- 3.9 percentage points.
Immediately after the debt ceiling deal was approved a few weeks ago, Bernards
"This doesn't solve anything," Carpenter said of the 11th-hour agreement hammered out by politicians right before Tuesday's "deadline" for reaching the federal government's debt ceiling. "It just pushes the problem down the road."
Carpenter said he has no faith in a newly appointed debt commission and supposed triggers on mounting debt. "It's disappointing that Congress didn't lead in this case, and deal with the problem (now) that is facing us now." He added, "The debt commission is just something for Congress to hide behind."
He said he doesn't like the idea of 12 people taking on the responsibility for what 535 representatives should be charged with doing. The real need is to balance the federal budget, he said.