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73% See Significant Deficit-Cutting Agreement As Unlikely Before 2012 Election

Regardless of their views on the content of any major deficit reduction plan, voters do not expect any significant reduction in federal government spending before next year’s election.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 22% of Likely U.S. Voters think it’s even somewhat likely that President Obama and congressional Republicans will reach an agreement to significantly cut long-term government spending trends before the 2012 election. That includes only four percent (4%) who say it’s Very Likely. 

Nearly three-out of-four voters (73%) feel that such spending reductions are unlikely before next year’s election, with 26% who say it’s Not At All Likely. (To see survey question wording, click here.

This is only slightly less pessimistic than voters were in April,  but they were much more narrowly divided on this question just two months ago as Congress and the president came to an agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts. Forty-two percent (42%) said at that time that Obama and congressional Republicans were likely to agree to significantly cut spending before the 2012 election, and only 51% viewed that as unlikely.

Pessimism about any such deal to cut the deficit is high among all partisan groups, but Democrats are slightly more confident than Republicans and voters not affiliated with either party that a deal can be reached before the next election. 

Fifty percent (50%) of Americans think the president and Congress should consider a mix of spending cuts and tax increases in looking for ways to cut the federal deficit, but 64% are unwilling to pay higher taxes themselves to reduce the deficit

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 20-21, 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 by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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