Poll: Majority of Americans want to delay forced spending cuts

Friday, February 22, 2013 - 9:00am

A new survey shows that a majority of Americans want Congress to stop the looming forced spending cuts from going into effect next week.

Fifty-four percent want Congress to delay the cuts, while 40% say the government should go ahead and allow the cuts to kick in, according to a Bloomberg News poll released Thursday.

The across-the-board cuts would slash the amount federal agencies can spend by $85 billion over the next seven months and $1.2 trillion over the next decade. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the cuts could reduce economic growth by at least 0.6 percentage points and reduce job growth by 750,000 jobs.

Other ways Americans could feel the impact include weakened unemployment benefits, longer security lines at the airport, furloughs at federal agencies, delays or closures at national parks and higher prices for chicken and other products because of cuts to food safety programs.

President Barack Obama and lawmakers on Capitol Hill now face a March 1 deadline to reach a deal if they want to avert the cuts. They were supposed to take place at the beginning of the year, but a scaled-back fiscal cliff bill postponed them for two months.

Should Washington find a deficit-reduction agreement to replace the automatic cuts, known in Washington as the sequester, 59% of Americans support White House proposals that call for a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, according to the new poll.

But a majority of those polled also said Social Security and Medicare should be overhauled to reduce the deficit. Congressional Republicans agree.

The poll largely falls in line with a Pew Research and USA Today poll released earlier Thursday, in which 49% said the cuts should be delayed and 40% wanted the cuts to go into effect, although a majority of Americans also want something done on the federal deficit this year.

For the Bloomberg News survey, Iowa-based Selzer & Co. conducted the poll February 15-18 with 1,003 U.S. adults by telephone. The poll's sampling error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.
 

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