Poll: 45 Percent Say Spending Cuts Alone Are the “Best Way” to Reduce the Deficit

Posted: Feb 26, 2013 1:30 PM

So how do Americans want to reduce the federal deficit? Well, according to a new Rasmussen poll, nearly half of the U.S. likely voters surveyed say cutting spending -- and not raising taxes -- is the “best” approach:

A plurality of voters continues to believe spending cuts alone are the best way to reduce the federal deficit. But even among those who favor a “balanced approach” of tax hikes and spending cuts instead, half want more emphasis on spending cuts.

Forty-five percent (45%) of Likely U.S. Voters think, generally speaking, that the long-term federal budget deficit should be reduced by cutting spending, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Thirty-six percent (36%) think the better way to reduce the deficit is through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. However, this includes 18% who want the combination to include more tax increases than cuts and 18% who want more spending cuts than tax hikes.

Only six percent (6%) feel the deficit should be reduced by raising taxes alone. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The president fervently believes he has a mandate to impose “the people’s will” through government action. Indeed, in a tight presidential election cycle, the public narrowly chose Mr. Obama to lead the nation for another four years, and therefore feels emboldened to move forward with his progressive, left-wing agenda as outlined in his second inaugural address. But what’s striking to me is that his “balanced approach” to long-term deficit reduction is not shared by almost half the voting public. Forty-five percent, according to this sample, believe cutting spending is the “best” -- and perhaps only -- way to achieve meaningful deficit reduction; they don’t believe tax hikes should even be on the table.

Of course, a plurality of Americans supports some combination of both spending cuts and tax increases. But even of those who fall into this latter category (see above), exactly half want more spending cuts rather than another round of tax hikes. This suggests, if anything, that a growing majority of Americans understand that putting our fiscal house in order is essentially impossible without cutting spending. This is a very good sign and, more important, underscores just how remarkably out of touch some leaders of the so-called People’s Party truly are.

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