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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Republicans debate tonight. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
He says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything in the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
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Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
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The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

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Republicans caucus in Nevada.

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Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

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