Poll: Sequester has not hit home


More information

METHODOLOGY This survey of 1,233 adults was conducted March 4-7. Adults 18 years of age

and older residing in the continental United States were interviewed by telephone. Telephone numbers

were selected based upon a list of telephone exchanges from throughout the nation. The exchanges

were selected to ensure that each region was represented in proportion to its population. To increase

coverage, this landline sample was supplemented by respondents reached through random dialing of

cell phone numbers. The two samples were then combined and balanced to reflect the 2010 census

results for age, gender, income, race, and region. Results are statistically significant within plus or minus 2.8

percentage points. There are 1,068 registered voters. The results for this subset are statistically

significant within plus or minus 3 percentage points. The error margin increases for cross-tabulations.

McClatchy Newspapers

The budget cuts in Washington have not hit home in America, at least not yet.

A plurality of Americans think federal spending cuts will have no effect at all on them or their families, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll. At the same time, as many Americans think the cuts will have no effect or a positive effect on the overall economy as think the cuts will hurt the economy, the survey found.

The numbers underscore how the politics of the spending fight in Washington have yet to be settled in the country, and why the two major parties could continue to struggle to reach accord in budget debates over coming months.

President Barack Obama has not yet convinced the majority that the cuts will be bad for them and their country as he has tried. He has hoped the country would rise up in anger at the spending cuts and force Republicans to agree to an alternative plan to curb the deficit that includes tax increases and fewer spending cuts.

And the impact of the spending cuts now being implemented likely will not become any clearer before Obama and Congress move on to other budget debates in coming weeks. Unpaid days off for some federal workers, for example, will not start for several more weeks at least.

“In the early innings, people are not seeing the immediacy of this,” said Lee Miringoff, Director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College in New York, which conducted the poll.

“They do think its going to be more negative than positive. They’re worried about a fragile economy. But in terms of themselves, almost half don’t think it’s going to have an effect. They feel isolated from the impact.”

Nearly half – 49 percent – of registered voters said the current cuts will have no impact at all on them or their families. Another 39 percent said the cuts would have a negative impact, and 10 percent said they would have a positive impact.

Independents and Republicans are more likely to see no effect headed their way.

Among independents, 52 percent expect no effect, 39 percent expect a negative effect, and 7 percent expect a positive effect.

Among Republicans, it’s 52-36-8.

Democrats are evenly split, 41-41 on whether the cuts will be negative or have no impact on their families. In a surprise, 14 percent of Democrats expect a positive impact for themselves, well more than independents or Republicans.

.Thinking beyond their own families, 47 percent of voters think the spending cuts now starting to take effect will have a negative impact on the economy, while 27 percent said they will have no effect and 20 percent said they will have a positive effect.

Economists expect the automatic cuts – called a sequester – to reduce growth this year by two-tenths of a percentage point to seven-tenths of a point.

Generally, voters by 53-37 prefer to reduce the deficits by mostly cutting government programs and services rather than mostly by raising taxes. Working Americans just had a tax increase in January when Obama and the Congress decided to let a temporary cut in the payroll tax for Social Security expire.

“Voters are not in a mood to increase taxes,” said Miringoff.

Yet voters favor spending cuts for just three areas of the budget – defense, energy and unemployment benefits – when given specific choices.

They prefer to cut defense spending over raising taxes by 53-39.

Solid majorities of Democrats and independents prefer to cut defense rather than raise taxes, 55-39 for Democrats and 59-35 for independents. Even among Republicans there was sizeable support for cutting defense spending, with GOP voters split 43-49 for defense cuts over tax increases.

“I don’t think defense is hands off for Republicans as much as it used to be,” said Miringoff.

Among voters choices on other parts of the budget:

-by 57-35 they prefer to cut energy spending rather than raise taxes;

-by 55-38 they prefer to cut spending on jobless benefits rather than raise taxes;

-by 65-31 they prefer to raise taxes than cut spending on education;

-by 60-33 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Social Security;

-by 57-36 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicare;

-by 53-40 they prefer to raise taxes than cut spending for transportation including roads and bridges;

-by 50-42 they prefer to raise taxes than cut Medicaid.

Email:sthomma@mcclatchydc.com; twitter @stevethomma

Read more Politics Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  • Abercrombie blames primary loss on gay marriage

    Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie says he lost his bid for re-election in a Democratic primary because of his decision to call a special session to legalize gay marriage.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell looks on, December 17, 2010.

    Mitch McConnell's campaign manager resigns after Iowa bribery scandal deepens

    Jesse Benton, the campaign manager for U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, will resign his post as a bribery scandal from the 2012 presidential campaign threatens to envelop Benton and become a major distraction for McConnell's campaign.

  • McConnell campaign manager resigns

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign manager resigned Friday amid fallout from a scandal in Iowa involving a presidential campaign he worked for in 2012. Jesse Benton said he didn't want to become a distraction as McConnell tries to win a tough re-election campaign in Kentucky.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category