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49% Rate Obama Poorly on Deficit Reduction

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Despite his support of the new bipartisan budget deal, nearly half of voters now rate President Obama poorly on his efforts to reduce the deficit, and he only fares marginally better when it comes to policies related to economic fairness.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters give Obama poor marks for his handling of issues related to deficit reduction, up three points from 46% in October and down just point from this year's high of 50% in July. Just 34% give the president good or excellent marks in this area, largely in line with findings throughout 2013. (To see survey question wording, click here).

When it comes to economic fairness, slightly more (37%) rate Obama's performance as good or excellent, although that’s down five points from the high of 42% reached in the previous survey. Forty-four percent (44%) rate him poorly on issues related to economic fairness, up three points from October but still below the year's high of 47%. 

Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters favor a federal budget that cuts spending, but they’re closely divided over the new budget deal that restores some of the across-the-board sequester spending cuts from earlier this year. That deal will cut the deficit by an estimated $85 billion over the next 10 years, but critics point out that much of that reduction takes place several years from now and is subject to change.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on December 12-13, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology

More voters continue to believe the U.S. economy is fair to women, blacks and Hispanics but unfair to the middle class. Just 39% consider the U.S. economy at least somewhat fair to Americans in general.

Men rate the president more harshly in both areas than women do. Older voters are also generally more critical of Obama than younger voters are.

Eighty-two percent (82%) of Republicans and 56% of voters not affiliated with either major party give the president poor marks for his handling of deficit reduction. Sixty-six percent (66%) of Democrats thank he is doing a good or excellent job. Democrats offer even more praise when it comes to economic fairness, while the others are only slightly less critical.

The Political Class gives the president generally positive ratings on both issues, while most Mainstream voters rate him poorly.

Earlier this month, the president declared that growing income inequality in the United States is "the defining challenge of our time." The number of workers who consider themselves poor is at its highest point this year at 14%, but 43% expect to earning more a year from now, matching the highest level of optimism in four-and-a-half years.

Sixty-one percent (61%) expect government spending to go up under Obama, the highest finding in three years, but 55% think spending increases hurt the economy.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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