The Washington Post

Poll: taxes beat spending cuts for debt reduction

In evaluating ways to reduce the national debt, tax increases in a variety of shapes and sizes beat out cuts to military spending and entitlements.

Most Americans see a balanced approach as the best way to reduce the federal deficit with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases beating out only spending cuts or only tax increases in the new Post-ABC poll. But when considering specifics, progressive taxation proposals find more appeal than cuts.

For all the partisan wrangling on Capitol Hill, there is surprising agreement among Democrats, Republicans and independents on many of the specifics. A 54 percent majority of Republicans support raising taxes on high income earners, a major sticking point in negotiations between President Obama and Republican congressional leaders in the debt ceiling debate.

Majorities of Republicans also support more taxes on oil and gas companies and raising Medicare premiums for wealthier retirees. They are more closely divided in support for more taxes on hedge funds and higher Social Security taxes on the upper income. Wide majorities of Democrats and independents support each of these tax hikes to reduce the national debt.

On the flip side, there are high levels of partisan opposition to a number of spending cuts as ways to reduce the debt. Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents alike reject cuts to Medicaid, raising the eligibility age for Medicare benefits and changing the formulation for Social Security so benefits would increase at a slower rate. Republicans are most opposed to cutting military spending. Just under half of Democrats oppose.

Read the full poll results.

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Peyton M. Craighill is polling manager for the Washington Post. Peyton reports and conducts national and regional news polls for the Washington Post, with a focus on politics, elections and other social and economic issues.


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