While President Barack Obama has called for $200 billion in economic stimulus spending to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” few voters believe increased government spending will stimulate the economy, a new poll reveals.
The national telephone survey, conducted by Rasmussen Reports, found that most believe tax cuts are the better way to go for the nation.
According to the poll, just 19 percent of likely American voters believe the government should increase federal spending to help stimulate the economy.
Another 62 percent oppose new spending as an economic stimulus. Nineteen percent are undecided about the issue.
There’s a sharp partisan difference of opinion on these options, however.
While 82 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of voters not affiliated with either major party think tax cuts would do more to stimulate the economy, just 39 percent of Democrats agree.
Republicans are nearly twice as likely as Democrats – 70 percent to 37 percent - to believe that the government should cut taxes to stimulate the economy. That view is shared by 57 percent of unaffiliated voters. Similarly, 83 percent of GOP voters and 69 percent of unaffiliateds don’t believe the government should increase spending as economic stimulus, but just 41 percent of Democrats agree.
With the fiscal cliff approaching on December 31, 68 percent of voters favor a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts to help reduce the federal budget deficit. Yet while voters are looking for more spending cuts than tax increases, they expect Congress and the president to go in the opposite direction.
Sixty percent (60 percent) think a middle-class tax hike is likely in any deal that the president and Congress reach to avoid the fiscal cliff.
The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted on December 4-5, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Voters have consistently viewed tax cuts as more economically beneficial than spending increases in surveys for years.
Voters still have mixed feelings about the $787-billion economic stimulus plan proposed by the president and passed by Congress in early 2009.
Thirty-seven percent (37 percent) think it helped the economy, while 31 percent believe it hurt. Twenty-three percent (23 percent) say it has had no economic impact. These findings have changed little since February 2009.
Not surprisingly, 60 percent of Democrats think the stimulus plan helped the economy, while 55 percent of Republicans feel it hurt the economy instead. Unaffiliated voters are evenly divided.
Sixty-five percent (65 percent) of the political class think the stimulus plan helped the economy, compared to 28 percent of Mainstream voters.
Voters continue to like the idea of across-the-board cuts in federal government spending but are notably less enthusiastic if the defense budget is exempted.
Most voters favor the president’s plan to raise taxes on those who earn more than $250,000 a year but recognize that that won’t be enough to balance the federal budget. However, voters are evenly divided when asked if they would be personally willing to pay “a bit more” in taxes to balance the budget if the spending cuts were not enough.
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