Pew deficit poll: Public favors being in shape, opposes diet, exercise

The headline is sarcastic. The poll, from Pew, was actually about the deficit. Here’s the summary:

“In many respects, there is a broad public consensus when it comes to the federal budget deficit: seven-in-ten say it is a major problem that must be addressed right away, and roughly two-thirds say that the best way to reduce the deficit is through a combination of cutting major government programs and increasing taxes. These views cross partisan lines, with majorities of Republicans, Democrats and independents saying we must deal with it now, and that the best approach involves both program cuts and tax increases.

“Yet this general consensus evaporates when concrete deficit reduction proposals are tested. And the Bowles-Simpson commission’s effort to package spending cuts and tax increases into a comprehensive package has met with far more public opposition than support. Among those who have heard of the deficit commission’s proposal, 48% disapprove and just 30% approve.

“The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 1-5 among 1,500 adults, finds that most of the major deficit reduction proposals under discussion meet with public disapproval. Particularly unpopular are provisions that would tax the health insurance people receive from their employers (72% disapprove), raise the national gasoline tax (74% disapprove), and reduce federal funding to states for things like education and roads (71% disapprove).

“Of 12 ideas tested, just two meet with majority approval: increasing the amount of earned income that is subject to Social Security withholding (64% approve) and freezing the salaries of government workers (59% approve).”

[Me: I wonder how that one fared among government workers.]

“The survey finds that the deficit is seen as an especially pressing issue to those who agree with the Tea Party movement — fully 84% of Tea Party supporters say it is a major problem that must be addressed now. But as with the public at large, the vast majority of Tea Partiers (65%) oppose reducing federal funding to states for things like education and roads. And those who agree with the Tea Party are among the most resistant to reductions in military spending.

“Overall, neither party’s Congressional leaders have much credibility on the deficit issue: 42% express confidence in Democratic leaders, 40% in Republican leaders. Obama is viewed more positively, by comparison, with 53% expressing confidence in him when it comes to dealing with the deficit.”

The full poll is here.

I should have said that the public favors being well but doesn’t want to take any medicine and sure doesn’t want to pay for the medicine.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Brian Simon on 12/09/2010 - 11:53 am.

    “I should have said that the public favors being well but doesn’t want to take any medicine and sure doesn’t want to pay for the medicine.”

    Actually, its both – being in shape is the best way to keep from getting sick. Likewise, having a strong economy is the best way to address the deficit.

    Of course, when you’re sick, going for a run is probably a bad idea – but changing your diet to a healthy one is still a good idea. So our first priority has to be getting out of the hospital – we have to put people to work. Once we’re back at home, and the danger of collapsing is lower, we can start an exercise regimen, restructure the tax code and eliminate corporate welfare.

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/09/2010 - 12:00 pm.

    Brian–
    Well said!

  3. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 12/09/2010 - 01:02 pm.

    These poll results would seem to be the result of several years of neocon/neoliberal propaganda. In Europe (England, Ireland, Germany, Greece, and – I think – Spain) governments have taking axes to all social spending, education, and the maintenance of existing jobs. The commission’s deficit reduction suggestions aline with those in Europe and are therefore designed to shrink our economy rather than to grow it.

    Unless the economy is stimulated to grow with governmental spending, it WILL stagnate and shrink and we will be worse off every year for who knows how long.

    A few years ago (2006? 2007?) a French news outlet reported that the neocons were spreading their “wisdom” to Europe — and finding takers among some of Europe’s leaders. I see we now know who at least some of them were.

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