The Washington Post

The public on sequestration: It’s a problem, just not my problem

The threat of sequestration has given way to the reality of sequestration, with the deep, across-the-board federal spending cuts set to kick in beginning today.

While most Americans agree that the cuts will have a major impact on the economy, they  aren't convinced the reductions will dramatically affect their own financial situation, polls show.

Six in 10 Americans predicted the cuts would have a major effect on the U.S. economy, according to Washington Post-Pew Research Center survey released earlier this week. And sixty-two percent said the effect on the economy would be mostly negative.

But when it comes to Americans' own financial situation, the picture is very different. A majority (59 percent) said the cuts would either have a minor effect or no effect on their own situation.

A Gallup poll released on Thursday showed something similar. A majority of Americans said the nation's economy will get worse if the cuts take effect. But once again, when it comes to how the cuts would affect them personally, Americans responded differently. More than half said their own financial situation would not get worse or expressed no opinion on the matter.

As we've noted in this space as the standoff over the deep cuts has unfolded, the White House has been making a concerted effort to convince the American people that sequestration is a real problem that will affect their lives in a major way. As the cuts begin, though, the public mostly agrees with the first point, but not the second one.

Scott Clement, a polling analyst with Capital Insight, the independent polling group of Washington Post Media, contributed to this report. 

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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Aaron Blake · March 1, 2013

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