After a series of fiscal crises over the past few years, the public is not expressing a particular sense of urgency over the pending March 1 sequester deadline. With little more than a week to go, barely a quarter have heard a lot about the scheduled cuts, while about as many have heard nothing at all.
And if the president and Congress cannot reach a deficit reduction agreement before the deadline, 40% of Americans say it would be better to let the automatic spending cuts go into effect, while 49% say it would be better to delay the cuts. Both Republicans and independents are divided evenly over which approach is better, and even among Democrats, roughly a third favor letting the sequester take effect over any delays.
The new survey, conducted Feb. 13-18, 2013 with 1,504 adults nationwide, is the first in a collaboration between the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY. It finds that, as with previous conflicts over the debt ceiling and fiscal cliff, Obama holds the upper hand politically over congressional Republicans. If there is no deficit deal by March 1, 49% say congressional Republicans would be more to blame while just 31% would mostly blame President Obama.
Read the full report, "If No Deal is Struck, Four-in-Ten Say Let the Sequester Happen," at the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press website.