Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Seventy-one percent (71%) of U.S. voters say President Obama’s policies have increased the size of the federal deficit, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
Only five percent (5%) say the president’s policies have cut the deficit, and 10% say they have had no impact. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.
Eighty percent (80%) of investors say Obama’s policies have driven up the deficit, a view shared by just 57% of non-investors.
Not surprisingly, 88% of Republicans blame the president’s policies, compared to 52% of Democrats. But 79% of voters not affiliated with either party agree.
Obama has initiated a number of big spending programs intended to jump-start the U.S. economy, and the Treasury Department estimates that the federal debt has grown by more than a trillion dollars since he took office. In his defense, the president notes that he inherited both an economic crisis and an already sizable deficit from President Bush.
On the economic crunch, most Americans agree with the president. Fifty-four percent (54%) blame the recession that began under the Bush administration for the nation’s economic woes, while 39% say Obama’s policies are at fault.
A plurality of voters (37%) say cutting the federal deficit in half in the next four years is number one among the four priorities the president listed in a speech to Congress in February, but 66% view it as the goal he is least likely to achieve.
Eighty-one percent (81%) of voters now say the bigger problem for the United States today is not voters’ unwillingness to pay enough in taxes but is instead the unwillingness of politicians to control government spending. This is little changed since May.
Twelve percent (12%) say the problem is that voters are unwilling to pay more in taxes.
Ninety-two percent (92%) of Republicans and 86% of unaffiliated voters see the unwillingness of politicians to control government spending as the bigger problem, as do 67% of Democrats.
Only 16% of voters say tax increases help the economy. Most voters (54%) say tax hikes hurt the economy, a number that has been fairly consistent for more than 10 years.
Sixty-eight percent (68%) of voters expect government spending to increase under the Obama administration. But 46% think cuts in government spending help the economy.
Fifty-four percent (54%) of U.S. voters say tax cuts for the middle class are more important than new spending for health care reform, even as President Obama’s top economic advisers signal that tax hikes may be necessary.
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