Fewer Want Spending to Grow, But Most Cuts Remain Unpopular

Feb 10, 2011

The public’s views about federal spending are beginning to change. Across a range of federal programs, Americans are no longer calling for increased spending, as they have for many years. For the most part, however, there is not a great deal of support for cutting spending, though in a few cases support for reductions has grown noticeably. The survey also shows that the public is reluctant to cut spending – or raise taxes – to balance state budgets.

Since June 2009, there have been double-digit declines in the proportions favoring increased federal spending for health care (by 20 percentage points), government assistance for the unemployed (17 points), Medicare (13 points) and veterans’ benefits and services (12 points). Fewer Americans also favor increased spending on military defense (down nine points) and environmental protection (seven points).

In two areas in particular – aid for the unemployed and national defense – the public’s attitudes toward federal spending have changed dramatically. Currently, as many favor decreasing spending as increasing spending for assistance to the unemployed and national defense. In 2009, far more supported funding increases than decreases for these programs.

Read the full report Fewer Want Spending to Grow, But Most Cuts Remain Unpopular on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.

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