As Democrats continue to debate how much and how to pare back their planned $3.5 trillion bill to expand the social safety net and combat climate change, a new CNN poll finds that 41% of American adults and 75% of Democrats prefer legislation that includes all of the proposed policy changes over a scaled back version that costs less.
Three in 10 respondents, and 20% of Democrats, said they prefer a bill that enacts fewer policy changes and costs less. And 29% of adults overall, including 55% of Republicans, say they prefer Congress not pass any version of the bill.
Among independents, 36% prefer the full bill while 32% want the smaller version and another 32% don’t want the legislation at all, though most independents who lean Democratic say Congress should enact the full package while most of those who lean Republican say Congress should scrap it altogether.
Democrats’ messaging problem: Democrats have struggled to sell the bill to the American public, at least in part because its size and scope have resulted in it being described in terms of its cost rather than its content. A CBS News poll earlier this week found that only 10% of Americans say they know a lot of specifics about the plan, compared to 29% who say they don’t know what’s in it. Asked what they’ve heard about the proposed legislation, nearly 60% in the CBS poll cited the $3.5 trillion price tag and tax increase for high-income individuals while just 40% cited proposals to add dental, vision and hearing coverage to Medicare or lower drug prices in the program.
The new CNN poll adds to those messaging concerns, as it finds that just 25% of respondents say their family would be better off if Congress passed both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and Democrats’ Build Back Better plan. Nearly a third say they would be worse off and 43% say they’d fare about the same.
The CNN poll finds that 50) approve of the job President Joe Biden is doing, while 49% disapprove.
The poll, conducted by SSRS from October 7 through October 11, surveyed 1,000 adults and has an overall margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.