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Voters Think They’re Far More Eager To Cut Spending Than Politicians Are


Voters clearly don't have much confidence in their elected leaders to make the spending cuts necessary to reduce the nation's historic-level budget deficit.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 70% of Likely U.S. Voters think voters are more willing to make the hard choices needed to reduce federal spending than elected politicians are. Just 17% say the politicians are more willing to make the tough spending cut decisions, while 13% more are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here).

The Political Class disagrees, however. Sixty percent (60%) of Political Class voters say elected politicians are more willing to make hard budget cutting choices, but 79% of those in the Mainstream feel otherwise and see voters as more willing to do it.

Voters are dubious about both parties. Fifty-five percent (55%) don't think President Obama's proposed $3.7 trillion federal budget for 2012 includes enough spending cuts, and despite House Republican plans to cut substantially more, a plurality (40%) of voters don't think the GOP goes far enough either.

Eighty-three percent (83%) of Americans said in a survey a year ago that the size of the federal budget deficit is due more to the unwillingness of politicians to cut government spending than to the reluctance of taxpayers to pay more in taxes.

Democrats are only slightly less skeptical of elected politicians than Republicans and voters not affiliated with either party are. But then sizable majorities across virtually all demographic categories think voters are more willing than elected politicians to make the hard choices needed to reduce federal spending.

The documents the White House includes with the president's 2012 budget proposal project that government spending will top $4 trillion in the next two to three years, but most voters aren't aware of that increase amidst all the talk of spending cuts.

Fifty percent (50%) of voters oppose the new spending in areas like education, transportation and technological innovation that the president proposed in his State of the Union address. Forty-one percent (41%) support it.

As they have for years, most voters continue to feel that cutting taxes and reducing government spending are best for the economy. But even though Republicans have taken over the House, voters still expect government spending, taxes and the deficit to go up over the next two years.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of voters now think a group of people selected at random from the phone book could do a better job addressing the nation's problems than the current Congress, but 41% disagree. Twenty-two percent (22%) are not sure. 

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information.  We poll on a variety of topics in the fields of politics, business and lifestyle, updating our site's content on a news cycle throughout the day, everyday.

Rasmussen Reports Platinum Members get an all-access pass to polling news, analysis and insight not available to the general public.

Scott Rasmussen , president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 14-15, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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©2011 Rasmussen Reports, LLC
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