March 29, 2010 - Middle Class Must Suffer To Close Deficit, Voters Say 8-1, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; But Don't Touch Social Security Or Medicare

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Although 84 percent of Americans say the middle class will have to make financial sacrifices to reduce the federal budget deficit, more than three quarters of them oppose raising income taxes on the middle class or limiting the growth of Social Security and Medicare, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Looking at ways to reduce the deficit, 49 percent of voters want all budget reductions through spending cuts, while 4 percent want it done only through tax hikes, and 42 percent favor a combination of the two, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

If a combination of the two are to be done to reduce the deficit, 29 percent want an equal amount in spending cuts and tax increases; 52 percent favor more spending cuts and 12 percent want a larger amount in tax increases.

"Social Security and Medicare are the two largest domestic items in the federal budget, and between them now make up more than a third of federal spending. Under current law, these programs will gobble up an even larger percentage of the budgets in coming years," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Given those numbers, it's clear that those who want serious deficit reduction have their work cut out for them in convincing the public, which seems adamantly opposed to cutting the programs with the largest budgets.

"Moreover, although majorities favor increasing taxes on those who earn $250,000 or more, they are opposed to hiking them on the middle class, which would raise much, much more money since there are so many more people who are middle class."

Within the 84 percent who think the middle class will have to sacrifice, 92 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of independent voters feel that way. But on the question of raising taxes on the middle class, 83 percent of Republicans, 81 percent of independent voters and 75 percent of Democrats are opposed.

The relative lack of a partisan gap also is evident in limiting the growth of Social Security and Medicare. On Social Security, 73 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independent voters are opposed. On Medicare, 75 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Democrats and 74 percent of independents are opposed.

Women are generally more opposed to limiting either program than are men and those with more education and higher incomes are slightly more in favor of such restrictions on growth.

Not surprisingly, 57 percent of Republicans want only spending cuts in a deficit reduction plan, compared to 54 percent of independents and 39 percent of Democrats. Conversely, 6 percent of Democrats, 3 percent of Republicans and 2 percent of independent favor the taxes only option.

From March 16 - 21, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,907 registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

48. Do you believe middle-class Americans will or will not have to make financial sacrifices to decrease the federal budget deficit?
                                                 TEA PARTY..............
                                                 OPINION Q18.
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Fav    UnFav  MemberQ30
Will                 84%    92%    78%    85%    95%    77%    92%
Will not             11      6     16     11      5     18      5
DK/NA                 5      2      6      4      -      5      4
 
                                                        ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME.
                                   AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k >250k
Will                 84%    85%    81%    86%    85%    82%    88%    90%    82%
Will not             13      9     17     10      8     12     10      9     15
DK/NA                 3      6      2      5      7      6      2      1      4
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Wht    Blk    His
Will                 84%    86%    94%    88%    92%    67%    88%    68%    80%
Will not             11     11      4      8      7     32      9     19     18
DK/NA                 5      3      2      4      2      1      3     13      2
 
 
49. Do you think - raising income taxes on households making more than $250,000 should or should not be a main part of any government approach to the deficit?
                                                 TEA PARTY..............
                                                 OPINION Q18.
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Fav    UnFav  MemberQ30
Should               60%    42%    82%    55%    28%    83%    28%
Should not           38     55     16     42     69     16     69
DK/NA                 2      3      2      2      3      2      3
 
                                                        ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME.
                                   AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k >250k
Should               58%    61%    68%    55%    58%    64%    61%    51%    64%
Should not           41     36     32     42     37     33     38     49     36
DK/NA                 2      3      -      3      4      3      2      -      -
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Wht    Blk    His
Should               60%    60%    52%    53%    55%    77%    58%    74%    60%
Should not           38     38     44     43     44     23     40     23     37
DK/NA                 3      1      4      4      1      -      2      3      3
 
 
50. Do you think - raising income taxes on households making more than 1 million dollars should or should not be a main part of any government approach to the deficit?
                                                 TEA PARTY..............
                                                 OPINION Q18.
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Fav    UnFav  MemberQ30
Should               72%    56%    89%    69%    45%    90%    43%
Should not           26     41      9     28     53      9     55
DK/NA                 2      3      2      2      2      1      2
 
                                                        ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME.
                                   AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k >250k
Should               69%    74%    76%    70%    71%    76%    71%    71%    67%
Should not           29     23     23     29     24     22     28     29     32
DK/NA                 2      3      1      1      5      2      1      -      1
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Wht    Blk    His
Should               73%    69%    62%    64%    72%    73%    70%    79%    79%
Should not           25     29     33     32     27     26     28     18     21
DK/NA                 3      1      5      4      1      1      2      3      -
 
 
51. Do you think - raising income taxes on the middle-class should or should not be a main part of any government approach to the deficit?
                                                 TEA PARTY..............
                                                 OPINION Q18.
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Fav    UnFav  MemberQ30
Should               17%    15%    22%    16%     9%    26%     8%
Should not           80     83     75     81     89     71     91
DK/NA                 3      2      3      3      1      3      1
 
                                                        ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME.
                                   AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k >250k
Should               21%    14%    22%    16%    15%    18%    17%    16%    26%
Should not           77     82     76     81     81     79     81     82     70
DK/NA                 2      4      2      3      4      3      2      2      4
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Wht    Blk    His
Should               16%    21%     9%    11%    17%    30%    15%    29%    22%
Should not           81     76     87     85     82     64     82     65     78
DK/NA                 3      3      3      4      1      6      3      6      1
 
 
52. Do you think - cutting the growth of spending on Social Security benefits should or should not be a main part of any government approach to the deficit?
                                                 TEA PARTY..............
                                                 OPINION Q18.
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Fav    UnFav  MemberQ30
Should               19%    22%    13%    21%    28%    17%    21%
Should not           77     73     84     75     69     80     77
DK/NA                 4      5      3      4      2      3      2
 
                                                        ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME.
                                   AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k >250k
Should               26%    12%    20%    20%    15%    15%    20%    26%    40%
Should not           71     83     76     75     81     82     77     71     57
DK/NA                 3      5      4      4      5      4      4      3      3
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Wht    Blk    His
Should               14%    30%    20%    19%    14%    10%    18%    13%    23%
Should not           81     66     73     74     83     88     77     85     76
DK/NA                 4      4      7      6      3      2      5      2      2
 
 
53. Do you think - cutting the growth of spending on Medicare benefits should or should not be a main part of any government approach to the deficit?
                                                 TEA PARTY..............
                                                 OPINION Q18.
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Fav    UnFav  MemberQ30
Should               21%    22%    17%    23%    27%    19%    19%
Should not           76     75     80     74     70     79     78
DK/NA                 3      3      3      3      3      2      3
 
                                                        ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME.
                                   AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k >250k
Should               27%    15%    24%    22%    17%    19%    22%    24%    31%
Should not           70     82     75     75     78     79     76     73     68
DK/NA                 3      3      1      3      4      2      2      2      1
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Wht    Blk    His
Should               19%    27%    23%    21%    21%    15%    22%    17%    17%
Should not           79     70     75     76     75     83     75     81     81
DK/NA                 3      3      3      3      4      2      3      3      2
 
 
54. To reduce the federal budget deficit do you think there should be a combination of tax increases and spending cuts, or that only taxes should be raised, or only that spending should be cut?
                                                 TEA PARTY..............
                                                 OPINION Q18.
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Fav    UnFav  MemberQ30
Combination          42%    35%    53%    39%    24%    65%    21%
Only tax increases    4      3      6      2      1      6      -
Only spending cuts   49     57     39     54     70     27     70
DK/NA                 5      4      3      5      5      2      8
 
                                                        ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME.
                                   AGE IN YRS.......           50-    100-
                     Men    Wom    18-34  35-54  55+    <50k   100k   250k >250k
Combination          43%    41%    42%    44%    40%    37%    49%    53%    60%
Only tax increases    3      4      6      4      3      6      1      3      1
Only spending cuts   51     48     50     48     50     51     48     42     39
DK/NA                 2      7      3      4      7      6      1      2      1
 
                                   WHITE.............
                     NoColl Coll   BrnAgn
                     Degree Degree Evngl  Prot   Cath   Jew    Wht    Blk    His
Combination          37%    55%    33%    38%    44%    65%    43%    40%    33%
Only tax increases    4      3      2      2      1      3      3      8      5
Only spending cuts   53     41     60     55     52     32     49     47     59
DK/NA                 6      2      6      5      3      1      5      4      3
 
 
55. (If combination q54) Do you think that tax increases and spending cuts should be equal, or that there should be more spending cuts than tax increases, or that there should be more tax increases than spending cuts?
                     COMBINATION Q54.......................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
Should be equal      29%    23%    31%    34%    27%    31%
More spending cuts   52     66     43     51     53     51
More tax increases   12      7     16     10     16      8
DK/NA                 7      4     10      6      5      9