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48% See Need to Change Defense, Social Security, Medicare To Make Serious, Long-Term Spending Cuts

Just under half of voters understand that making major cuts in government spending over the long haul will require substantial changes in three of the most politically sensitive areas of the federal budget.

Forty-eight percent (48%) of Likely U.S. Voters recognize that it is necessary to make major changes in defense, Social Security, and Medicare to make truly significant, long-term cuts in government spending, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Thirty-seven percent (37%) don’t believe changes of this kind are necessary. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Most Republicans (54%) and voters not affiliated with either major political party (51%) understand that major changes in defense, Social Security and Medicare will be needed to guarantee significant, long-term spending cuts. A plurality of Democrats (46%) disagree and don’t think such changes will be required.

The Political Class is closely divided on the question, while 51% of Mainstream voters see major changes in the three politically touchy areas as necessary to ensure serious, long-term spending cuts.

As recently as November, voters were evenly divided when asked if the majority of federal spending goes to just national defense, Social Security and Medicare. Forty-one percent (41%) recognized the truth of this statement, but 39% disagreed with it and 20% were undecided.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 7-8, 2011 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 byPulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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