Poll: Whom do Americans trust to cut the deficit?
February 16th, 2011
09:21 AM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Whom do Americans trust to cut the deficit?

Washington (CNN) - Nearly half of all Americans think they'll have to feel some personal pain in order to cut the country's massive budget deficit, according to a new national poll.

A CBS News survey also indicates that the public is split over whether they have more trust in President Barack Obama or congressional Republicans to lower the deficit.

Forty-nine percent of people questioned say that in order to reduce the deficit, government programs that personally benefit them will have to be cut, with 41 percent saying such cuts won't be needed. The poll indicates a partisan divide, with a majority of Republican and independent voters saying such cuts will be needed but a majority of Democrats disagreeing.

According to the survey, 37 percent say it will be necessary to raise taxes on people like themselves to help get the country out of the red, and the poll indicates that the expectation of tax increases rises among those people with higher incomes.

Forty-two percent say they trust the president to make the right decisions on reducing the deficit, with an equal amount saying they trust congressional Republicans to make the right choice, and nearly one in ten saying they trust neither side.

The poll also indicates that while a majority of Americans disapprove of health care reform (51 percent), a majority of the public (55 percent) also disapprove of efforts by congressional Republicans to defund the new law. According to the survey, 57 percent of Republicans support defunding the new law, with more than eight out of ten Democrats opposed. By a 49-38 percent margin, independent voters also oppose cutting off funding for health care reform.

The CBS News poll was conducted February 11-14, with 1,031 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Economy • national debt • Polls
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. diridi

    look, while Reagan and Bush looted this nation's money...Clinton showed surplus....it is Democratic party...it is a corroborative evidence...

    February 16, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  2. GonzoinHouston

    Half of Americans get it, and half need to learn. Yes, we will all have to take a hit if we want to get serious about reducing the deficit. There are five areas that have to be reduced or fixed:

    Social Security

    We're going to have to address all of them, and we're going to have to accept that it won't be painless. In a perfect solution, everyone would be equally discomfited. Anyone who wants to fix the deficit but not the part that benefits them personally is greedy and foolish, and a poor excuse for an American.

    February 16, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Chad from Tampa

    A few years ago my credit card debt was too much. I got out of debt by cutting my spending and paying off my debt. What is so hard about that concept for politicians to understand?

    February 16, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If the United States were broke as the republicans are now ranting, they should have voted not to keep the Bush Tax Cuts which will add $780 billion to our debt. If we are truly broke, the republicans should not try to repeal health reform as that would add $230 billion to our debt. If we were truly broke, republicans should demand to bring our troops from the Bush unnecessary wars home as it cost us $1.3 trillion. If we were truly broke, the republicans should repeal the tax breaks for big oil, big businesses and corporations who ship our jobs overseas. Since they are not interested in doing any of these, I believe they are lying to score political points.

    February 16, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. raingirl2

    You can't trust either side to cut the budget where it should be cut. Remember the lobbyist and big business are running this country and both sides are only going to cut what big daddy tells them they can cut. neither side will cut anything that will impact their bosses, clearly the American people have no say in what happens in this country as evidenced by the destruction of this nation by the hands of the various presidents and congresses. The greatest cuts will be to the poorest people (except illegals). That is the ultimate goal in reducing this country to two classes filthy rich and dirt poor.

    February 16, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  6. ReFascistican/ConservaFascists

    Majority of Americans didn't agree to give the wealthiest Americans a tax cut worth $400 billion dollars either.

    February 16, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. B

    A hugh majority of independents a republicans favor defunding health care and only the dems support the law, but this article make it seem like its an eve split. THe media and the president can ignore these facts but those facts are going to gut the democrats party come 2012. It's lining up for a completed republican control in the house senate are presidency. Obama ruined the democratic party.

    February 16, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  8. Plan ahead

    President Obama has a balanced plan. He has cut some things that are important to him and advocated spreading cuts around (for example, getting rid of oil company subsidies and also cutting funding for community programs). The GOP on the other hand will only target middle class Americans for cuts. The GOP is against getting rid of oil company subsidies or even raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans who pay a much LOWER tax rate than middle class people. The GOP is for the rich and big business only. They will not hesitate to cause pain for middle class Americans, but will rally with everything they've got to keep the rich from paying a tiny 3% more in taxes. I will not be voting Republican until they start standing up for middle class Americans who are hurting and stop protecting the rich when income inquality is the worst it has been since the Great Depression.

    February 16, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Neither. It is obvious that both political parties are in Washington for their own personal benefit, and not to serve the public. Therefore it should be obvious, that none of them can be trusted to do what is best for this country.

    February 16, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Mountaineer

    We are hearing that the Republicans want to attack entitlements, most of which were paid and bought for by the American public, like Social Security and is solvent. Where is the pain to the RICH in this balancing act! I'm not hearing any!

    February 16, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  11. Ernie

    Like I have written before believe 50% of what you read and 50% on what you hear. President Harry Truman once said " I'm from Missouri you have to show me". That's why Missouri is known as the "Show Me State" The politicians and Obama are going to go around and around with the "debt" and the only losers are going to be the tax payer's. On the "Debt" it's the
    the Politicians 1 the Tax Payer's 0. Like I said don't believe anything until it's done, remembe what President Harry Truman said.

    February 16, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  12. indy

    If you want a good education for your children,a possibility for college ed. Med insurance for children, hard working americans,single mothers, elderly care and support? Stay away from GOP rhetoric!!!!!1

    February 16, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. Duane - St.Pete FL

    The proof is in the pudding (budget)...Obama's budget is a joke, he's STILL SPENDING. Let's really cut all those hand out (Medicare, S.S., and all the other waste like subsidies to farmers, foreign countries and the poor) programs....lets also cut at least a third of the federal work force....it's an awful waste of tax dollars and the US government is NOT an employment agency. The government is NOT in place to take care of or coddle you or your family....the government IS in place to defend us (US Army ect...) and build and maintain our infrastructure. Want the government to take care of you? move to Cuba or California (although they are billions in debt now trying to take care of about 1/3 the population of Mexico in their state.....and the dumb people in California keep electing the same dumb democrats that got that state in DEEP, DEEP debit.......lol.

    February 16, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. Al-NY,NY

    The poll also indicates that while a majority of Americans disapprove of health care reform (51 percent), a majority of the public (55 percent) also disapprove of efforts by congressional Republicans to defund the new law. According to the survey, 57 percent of Republicans support defunding the new law, with more than eight out of ten Democrats opposed. By a 49-38 percent margin, independent voters also oppose cutting off funding for health care reform.

    Not that a majority (55%) of NOT defunding HRC will stop the GOP from trying, even though the "will of the people" is there. How convenient that they will ignore "the people" here but follow a poll when it suits them. Hypocrites

    February 16, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. Former Republican - Now Independent

    I don't trust any of them.

    The Republicans didn't have the cojones to stop deficit spendingt when a GOP-controlled Congress went along with George Bush, who spent money like a drunken sailor.

    The Democrats don't have the backbone to make the sacrifices needed.

    The Tea Party would use the cuts as a weapon to enforce their own social agenda.

    We're screwed.

    February 16, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. Four and The Door

    This is a little more than just amazing. Obama and the Democrats spent like crazy for 2 years, right out of the gate and drove up debt faster than any federal government in history. Then after Americans across the country revolted against this rape of the US Treasury and elected Republicans is huge nimbers in November, Obama all of the sudden tries weakly to come off as a fiscally responsible politician. His efforts have been weak at best.

    The Republicans on the other hand came into power in The House and immediately began cuts where no Democrat dare go. They shot down Barry and Harry's bloated 2011 budget and saved America billions.

    And half of those polled apparently missed the whole show and still believe Obama is the guy to bring down the deficit. He wouldn't even talk about it if the Republicans weren't taking charge and whipping the Federal government into shape. He would still be funding everything he could throw $1 billion at. He knows he can't get away with that now.

    February 16, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    When the polls say a majority of Americans based on slightly over 1000 people do not favor the Health Care reforms passed last year, I have trouble with that. Did they also ask the polled whether they favor or not the individual provisions? I would be willing to bet if they did, the only provision that people would disapprove of is the Mandate to buy insurance. Also, if asked whether they would prefer a single-payer option, the majority would also favor that.

    February 16, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. Moby Detroit, MI

    I trust the congress to do what benefits congress and their special interests . Nothing more. They no longer represent the average citizen.

    February 16, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  19. Gary

    I think the Republican party will pass on the national debt to the common man, not thru higher taxes and the like, but through more direct costs, such as tightening Medicare elgibility, Social Security benefits, and reduction of programs such as food stamps for the poor and the like.

    February 16, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. MPeters

    I trust anyone who is actually man/woman enough to say they want to cut spending, make proposed cuts (specific line-items), and then state that they are going to raise taxes to make up the necessary budgetary shortfall–i.e. someone who proposes a balanced budget.

    We know that is NOT going to be the Republicans. Democrats, make this happen.

    February 16, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Indy

    Pretty hard to trust the Republicans as their record is one that has caused the deficit. How do you trust a party that went to Iraq and during the whole Bush term it was spend every penny to boast your power ? Republicans have a horrible record of creating huge deficits and spending without a care in the world and now they majically have the answer ?

    February 16, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |