Oct. 12, 2012

Deep Divisions over Debt Reduction Proposals

Public concern over the debt and deficit, already extensive, is only likely to increase as the so-called “fiscal cliff” approaches at the end of the year. Yet among a dozen specific options for reducing the debt and deficit, only two win majority approval from the public – raising taxes on annual incomes over $250,000 […]

Jun. 21, 2012

Section 4: Views of the National Economy

Amid a tepid economic recovery, evaluations of national economic conditions remain broadly negative. And the percentage expecting conditions to improve over the next year has fallen, after reaching a recent high in March. Meanwhile, opinions about the government’s economic policy priorities remain deadlocked: 48% place higher priority on spending to help the economy recover while […]

Jun. 14, 2012

Debt and Deficit: A Public Opinion Dilemma

The issue of the debt and the deficit – and what to do about it – has paralyzed Washington lawmakers. But when it comes to measures for reducing the deficit on which they might reach common ground, they will get little help in building support for an agreement by turning to public opinion. In my […]

Nov. 17, 2011

Section 3: The Deficit and the Super Committee

As the Nov. 23 deadline approaches for the congressional “super committee” to offer a deficit reduction proposal, the public continues to rank the budget deficit second to the job situation among its top national economic concerns. At the same time, 62% of Americans say the best approach to deficit reduction would include both spending cuts […]

Nov. 10, 2011

Partisan Divide Over Alternative Energy Widens

Public support for increased federal funding on research into alternative energy technology, including solar technology, has decreased substantially since the early months of the Obama administration, with nearly all the decline coming from Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Overall, 68% of the public favors increasing federal funding for research on wind, solar and hydrogen energy […]

Sep. 8, 2011

Jobs vs. Deficit — Where the Public Stands

When President Obama goes before a joint session of Congress on Thursday to lay out a plan for spurring jobs creation, one of the political and policy dynamics at work will be the tension that animated the debate in Washington all this year:  the push to reduce federal spending and the government’s deficit competing against […]

Sep. 7, 2011

Few See Job Proposals Having Much Effect

When asked which economic issue worries them most, nearly twice as many Americans cite the job situation as the federal budget deficit (43% to 22%). There is less clarity in the public’s views about ideas to address the job situation – many are seen as helping at least a little, but no specific proposal emerges […]

Jul. 26, 2011

Section 2: The Debt and Deficit Debate

A week ahead of the Aug. 2 debt-ceiling deadline, the public overwhelmingly wants political leaders in Washington to compromise on the issue. About two-thirds (68%) say that lawmakers who share their views should be willing to compromise, even if it means striking a deal they disagree with. Only 23% say lawmakers who share their views […]

May. 24, 2011

More Concern about Raising Debt Limit than Government Default

The public is concerned about both of the possible outcomes of the debt limit debate – raising the debt limit and failing to do so. But more say they are very concerned about the possible consequences of raising the debt limit than of not raising it. And by a 48% to 35% margin, Americans say […]

May. 4, 2011

Section 7: The Budget Deficit, Taxes, Spending and Entitlements

With Republicans winning a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives on a wave of anti-government sentiment, the political focus in Washington has turned to government spending and deficit reduction. Yet while most Americans agree that deficit reduction should be a top priority this year, it is not universally seen as the most pressing economic […]

Feb. 11, 2011

Tea Party’s Hard Line on Spending Divides GOP

Feb. 10, 2011

Section 3: The Deficit and Government Spending

Overall, the public is divided over whether it is more important for the federal government to reduce the budget deficit or spend to help the economy recover. About half (49%) say that reducing the budget deficit should be the federal government’s higher priority, while nearly as many (46%) say the priority should be spending to […]

Feb. 10, 2011

Fewer Want Spending to Grow, But Most Cuts Remain Unpopular

The public’s views about federal spending are beginning to change. Across a range of federal programs, Americans are no longer calling for increased spending, as they have for many years. For the most part, however, there is not a great deal of support for cutting spending, though in a few cases support for reductions has […]

Dec. 3, 2009

Section 2: Global Threats and Use of Military Force

Majorities of the public and Council on Foreign Relations members say Islamic extremist groups, Iran’s nuclear program and international financial instability represent major threats to the well-being of the United States. However, the public is much more likely than CFR members to view the Taliban’s growing strength in Afghanistan, North Korea’s nuclear program, and China’s […]

Jul. 30, 2009

Section 3: Priority Remains on Spending, Not Deficit

Despite President Obama’s falling ratings for dealing with the budget deficit, it is not clear that the public’s deficit concerns are uniformly resolute. When asked to think about budget tradeoffs, most Americans continue to place a higher priority on increased federal spending for health care, education and economic recovery than on reducing the budget deficit. […]

Oct. 27, 2005

Budget Cuts Look Cheaper Out of Focus

How does the public want to pay for cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina and her disruptive relatives? As politicians grapple with the costs of disaster relief following a string of major hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, there is no clear public consensus over where the money should come from. In particular, while most Americans believe […]

Oct. 19, 2005

Katrina Relief Effort Raises Concern Over Excessive Spending, Waste

Summary of Findings The public overwhelmingly supports the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding aid already approved by Congress. Going forward, however, as many Americans worry that the government will spend too much on hurricane relief as say it will spend too little. And while Katrina’s potential impact on the budget has become a major issue in Washington, […]

Feb. 21, 2002

Other Important Findings

Business Views Change Little Interest in the Enron case has been steadily increasing over the past two months, outpacing other news stories such as the Winter Olympics and the congressional debate over the budget and taxes. Currently, 28% say they are following the investigation into the Enron bankruptcy very closely, up from 19% in mid-January, […]

Apr. 26, 2001

Other Important Findings and Analyses

Environmental Balancing Act Most Americans (54%) express at least some confidence in Bush’s ability to balance environmental and economic demands, with 21% expressing “a lot” of confidence in the president in this area. This is comparable to how the public viewed Clinton’s environmental leadership. In 1997, 61% had some confidence in Clinton’s ability to balance […]

Jan. 23, 1998

Spending Favored Over Tax Cuts or Debt Reduction

Introduction and Summary In his sixth State of the Union next week, President Clinton will face an American public that retains a healthy appetite for government activism — fully two-thirds advocate spending any budget surplus this year. But that enthusiasm is tempered by often sharp generational differences on federal spending priorities. In a clear signal […]