With the congressional deficit-reduction super committee collapsing into stalemate, a solid majority of Americans say that Congress should block the automatic spending cuts established as a fallback if the panel deadlocked, according to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll.
Although a majority of adults said they preferred their member of Congress to compromise on reaching a deficit-reduction agreement, and a plurality said they believed that a deal would benefit the economy, a commanding 61 percent said that Congress should stop the $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts now scheduled to be imposed after the committee announced its failure on Monday afternoon.
Last summer’s legislation to raise the debt ceiling, which created the 12-member super committee, established those reductions as the fail-safe mechanism if the group did not recommend at least $1.2 trillion in further deficit reduction. Those cuts, which are divided equally between defense and domestic programs, are slated to start in 2013, but some congressional Republicans have already talked about trying to alter the formula to reduce the impact on defense.
Opposition to proceeding with the automatic cuts was widespread in the poll. They were opposed by three-fifths of whites, and nearly two-thirds of minorities; at least 57 percent of every age group; and 58 percent of independents, 66 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of Republicans. The only exception to the pattern: Whites with at least a four-year college degree split almost evenly on whether the cuts should go through.
The United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, which surveyed 1,003 adults by landline and cell phone from Nov. 17-20, 2011. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
That broad resistance to the automatic reductions reflects a general absence of urgency in the survey about dealing with the huge deficit challenge and a resistance to big cuts in key domestic programs.