ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., November 30, 2010— Only a day before the Federal Deficit Commission issues its report on federal spending, a new CNBC-AP poll finds the concern over the growing deficit has reached new heights with 85% of those surveyed believing that the increasing federal debt will harm their children’s and grandchildren’s financial future. This is the highest level of concern recorded in AP polling back to September 2008. Key findings include:
A majority (54%) of those polled believe that taxes will have to be increased and services will have to be cut in order to close the gap on the federal balance sheet.
Freezing salaries for the federal workforce (59%) and reducing the number of federal workers (62%) received the majority of support among those surveyed who placed the budget as a top priority.
Most (about six in ten) believe the health care reforms enacted in March will increase the federal budget deficit, and most of those (72%) believe that it will not be worth it.
Party lines mattered to survey participants. Republicans are more trusted to handle the federal budget deficit than Democrats, with 44% favoring Republicans compared to the 38% who favor Democrats. On healthcare, many (47%) believe that Democrats have the upper hand on handling the issue.
Americans worry about life for future generations with 45% saying things will be worse for the next generation and just 21% saying life in the U.S. will be better; 33% believe it’ll be about the same.
“Getting the country on firm fiscal footing will likely be a top priority for lawmakers since 69% of those we surveyed considered the federal budget deficit an extremely important issue for them personally," said Nikhil Deogun, Managing Editor, CNBC Business News. “According to our poll, more Americans now believe that the country is heading in the wrong direction than last year at this time – 61% compared to 56%.”
Cuts that impact education, the military and national security were strongly opposed by those polled. Sixty-seven percent are against reducing federal government spending on education; sixty-one percent oppose reducing the number of people in the military and fifty-four percent do not want to stop spending on homeland security.
Changing the eligibility age for Social Security is overwhelmingly opposed with 64% opposing it and 51% strongly opposing it. Americans are evenly divided on whether higher-income earners should contribute more to Social Security, with 49% thinking the taxable income cap should be raised as opposed to 47% who favor keeping it the same. Participants were split on reducing Social Security benefits for seniors with higher incomes with 44% in favor and 46% opposing.
A sharp partisan divide remains on extending the tax cuts enacted under George W. Bush. About 8 in 10 Democrats say all or some of the tax cuts should expire, nearly double the level among Republicans.
Full Poll results and additional The Fleecing of America reporting is available on CNBC.com.
The CNBC-AP Poll was conducted from November 18 through November 22, 2010 by Gfk Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications—a division of Gfk Custom Research North America. This telephone poll is based on a nationally-representative probability sample of 1,000 general population adults age 18 or older. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
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