Pollwatch: Comparing the Polls on Spending and the Deficit

  • June 24, 2009

A number of recent surveys have attempted to gauge whether deficit concerns are eroding support for government spending to stimulate the economy, but the findings of these efforts are mixed. There is little doubt that Americans are worried about the deficit, but not surprisingly with such a complex issue, the way questions are worded clearly impacts how the public views the debate.

The latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press finds the public evenly divided over whether deficit reduction or stimulus spending is the higher priority for the government right now. Among 1,005 adults interviewed over landline and cell phones June 18-21, 48% place a higher priority on "spending more to help the economy recover" while 46% prioritize "reducing the budget deficit."

Two other recent national polls, which gave arguments on both sides of the issue, found the public giving greater priority to deficit reduction than to stimulating the economy. Both the CBS/New York Times and NBC/Wall Street Journal surveys, released last week, made efforts to explain the pros and cons of stimulus spending and deficit reduction, and both found majorities supporting the latter option.

Read the complete findings Pollwatch: Comparing the Polls on Spending and the Deficit on the Pew Research Center's Web site.