Poll: Americans Pessimistic About Budget Deal

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WASHINGTON (UPI) — As Congress works to reach a budget deal, Americans say they favor easing the sequester, even it means raising fees or taxes, a McClatchy-Marist poll said.

While lawmakers are suggesting a deal will be reached by Friday’s deadline, Americans are less optimistic, with 68 percent saying they don’t think President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans will be able to work together to reach a deal.

“Given the track record, it’s not surprising that Americans are pessimistic,” Lee M. Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said Monday in a statement. “There are no winners in the budget battle in Washington as far as public opinion is concerned.”

According to the survey of 1,173 adults, conducted Dec. 3-5, 52 percent of Americans support replacing some spending cuts with increased taxes and fees. Democrats and independents were most in favor of increased taxes and fees, while Republicans said they would prefer the scheduled cuts.

Fifteen percent of people polled said the sequester had a positive effect on the economy and 37 percent said they saw a negative impact.

Fifty-two percent of Democrats said the spending cuts hurt the economy, compared to 37 percent of independents and 23 percent of Republicans.

The plan is unlikely to include any major tax increase or any big changes to Medicare or Social Security, which will likely make voters happy, the poll said.

Four of five people opposed Medicare cuts and more than half said reductions in defense spending were unacceptable.

Support for cuts to the Affordable Care Act were split largely along party lines.

Margin of error for the survey was plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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