Most Americans support the idea of cutting federal spending across the board, but insist defense programs be kept off limits when trimming the government's budget, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News
The survey of 1,017 conducted nationally Feb. 27 to March 3 found that 61 percent of respondents support a 5 percent, across-the-board spending reduction in domestic programs, but 60 percent oppose an 8 percent reduction in military spending.
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The two reductions approximate the automatic spending cuts that began Saturday in domestic and defense programs brought on by the sequester, which encompasses $1.2 trillion of spending cuts over the next 10 years.
Among Republicans, the survey shows that 76 percent of respondents support the domestic cuts, while 73 percent oppose the military spending reductions. Among Democrats, 57 percent said they were supportive of slashing domestic programs and 48 percent said they were against cutting military spending.
Among those who identified themselves as Independents, 60 percent said they favored domestic cuts, while 63 percent said they were opposed to the military cutbacks.
“In short: the American public likes the idea of cutting federal spending. What they don’t like are actual cuts in federal spending,” Post reporter Jon Cohen wrote in analyzing The Washington Post/ABC News poll.
That attitude made the sequester inevitable, he says. “Without any clear signal from the public of how, specifically, it wants the cuts to happen, politicians did the easy thing: they let an across-the-board cut go into effect without having to vote (read: explain) on it.”
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