December 11, 2012
12/11: Slim Majority Thinks Debt Deal will be Reached
52% of registered voters nationally think a deal to reduce the federal budget deficit will be reached by the end of the month. 42%, however, do not think a deal will be brokered, and the nation will go over the fiscal cliff. Six percent are unsure.
There is a partisan divide. 68% of Democrats believe a deal will occur. More than one in four — 26% — do not think a compromise will be found, and 6% are unsure. Among Republicans, a majority — 54% — does not think a plan will be hashed out by the deadline. 40%, however, think it will, and 6% are unsure. Independent voters divide. 48% think a deal will be reached while 46% say a compromise will not be found. Six percent are unsure.
“Most voters are worried about the fiscal cliff and think reaching a deal by month’s end matters,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, like Washington, voters are polarized along party lines on the question of whether to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire and for whom.”
If a deal is not reached, a plurality of U.S. registered voters — 47% — say Republicans in Congress are to blame. 36% believe President Barack Obama to be at fault, and 11% say both are responsible. Six percent report neither are to blame or are unsure.
Not surprisingly, 80% of Democrats blame the Republicans in Congress while 71% of Republicans nationally put the onus on the president. Among independents, 46% blame the Republicans in Congress while 34% say the fault is with President Obama.
Most Voters Concerned About Falling Off Fiscal Cliff, Many Think It Matters
Are voters worried that a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit will not be reached by the end of the month? 78% express some level of concern. This includes 39% of voters who are very concerned and 39% who are concerned. 16% are not very concerned, and 6% are not concerned at all.
By party, 85% of Republicans, including a majority — 55% — who are very concerned, are worried about the fiscal cliff. Among Democrats, 74% have some degree of concern, including 26% who are highly concerned. 77% of independents are worried about not reaching a deficit agreement. This includes 38% who are very concerned and 39% who are worried.
More than seven in ten voters think it’s important that President Obama and Congressional Republicans make a deal before year’s end. 71% believe it matters if the two parties reach an agreement while 26% do not think it makes a difference. Two percent are unsure.
80% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans believe it matters whether the president and the Republicans in Congress reach a deal. 67% of independent voters agree.
Majority Backs Raising Taxes on Wealthy…Other Options Lack Support
When it comes to reducing the federal budget deficit, which proposals do registered voters nationally support?
- 57% support allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and raising taxes on the wealthy. 40% oppose such an action, and 3% are unsure. While 75% of Democrats and 63% of independents favor this proposal, 68% of Republicans oppose it.
- Four in ten registered voters — 40% — favor raising the Medicare age from 65 to 67. 59% oppose it. One percent is unsure. 63% of Democrats, 56% of independents, and 56% of Republicans oppose this proposal.
- When it comes to letting the Obama payroll tax cuts expire, only 33% support this move while half of registered voters — 50% — oppose it. 17% are unsure. 56% of Democrats, 47% of independents, and 47% of Republicans are against the suggested measure.
- 29% of voters support eliminating the tax deduction for home mortgage interest. 67% oppose the proposal, and 4% are unsure. Regardless of party, there is a consensus. 69% of Democrats, 66% of Republicans, and 65% of independents are against eliminating this tax deduction.
- The elimination of the tax deduction for charitable contributions is supported by 28% of voters. 69% oppose it, and 3% are unsure. By party, 72% of Republicans, 69% of Democrats, and 67% of independents are against this proposal.
- 26% of registered voters support cutting Medicaid spending while 70% oppose it. Four percent are unsure. 83% of Democrats, 67% of independents, and 61% of Republicans are against cuts to Medicaid.
- Nearly one in four voters — 24% — support letting the Bush tax cuts expire and raising taxes for everyone. 74% oppose the proposal, and 2% are unsure. Independent voters — 80% — and Republicans — 77% — are more likely to oppose the idea than Democrats. Still, 66% of Democrats are against this measure.
- When it comes to cutting Medicare spending, 23% support this measure. Nearly three in four voters — 74% — oppose such an action, and 3% are unsure. 85% of Democrats, 71% of independents, and 68% of Republicans are against cutting Medicare spending.
Voters Divide about Use of War Funds to Pay Down Debt
46% of registered voters believe the money saved by ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should not be considered a cut in spending. 45%, however, believe these funds should count toward the targets set by the fiscal cliff agreement to pay down the debt. Nine percent are unsure.
There is a partisan divide. 50% of Democrats believe this money should go toward reducing the debt, and 38% do not. In contrast, 50% of Republicans do not believe money from Iraq and Afghanistan should count toward reducing the debt, and 39% believe it should. Among independent voters, 49% say the money should not count toward reducing the deficit while 46% believe it should.
Compromise is Key, Say Three in Four
In general, 74% of adults nationally think it is better for government officials to compromise to find solutions while 21% think it is better to stand on their principles even if it results in gridlock. Five percent are unsure. Similar proportions of registered voters share these views.
83% of Democrats, 77% of independent voters, and 63% of Republicans say government officials should compromise to find solutions.