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Many Favor Cutting Pay, Benefits of State Employees

Americans are evenly divided on the idea of a sizable pay cut for all public employees to help reduce the large budget deficits that many states are facing.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 40% of Adults favor a 10% pay cut for all state employees to help reduce state spending.  Forty-one percent (41%), however, oppose an across-the-board pay cut like this.  Nineteen percent (19%) are not sure.  (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Perhaps not surprisingly, while 60% of entrepreneurs and a plurality (45%) of private company workers favor a 10% pay cut for public employees, 75% of those employed by the government do not. 

Many states are also looking for ways to reduce large pension benefits promised to public employees as another way to help reduce their deficits. Only 26% of Americans are willing to pay higher taxes to ensure that all pension benefits promised to public employees are paid. Forty-three percent (43%) would rather reduce the benefits. Thirty percent (30%) are undecided.

The findings come as support for public employee unions nationwide has fallen nearly 10 points since May of last year and is down even among those with family ties to unions.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on January 6-7, 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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