President Obama and Congress are currently debating how deep to cut government spending and whether to include some tax increases as part of a budget deal. But voters feel more strongly than ever that decreasing government spending is good for the economy and think tax increases of any kind are bad economic medicine.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 55% of Likely U.S. Voters now think decreases in government spending help the economy. Twenty-four percent (24%) believe decreased spending hurts the economy, while 11% say it has no impact. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Prior to these findings, belief that decreased government spending is economically beneficial has ranged from 44% to 53% in surveys since June 2009.
Just 24% of Likely U.S. Voters think tax increases help the economy. Fifty-four percent (54%) disagree and believe tax hikes hurt the economy. Eleven percent (11%) feel they have no economic impact, while another 11% are not sure. Most voters have said tax increases hurt the economy in every survey but one since July 2008.
But only 41% of voters now would choose a candidate who promises to oppose all tax increases versus one who promises to raise taxes only on the rich. A plurality (49%) would opt instead for the candidate who promises to raise taxes only on the rich. In February, for the first time in over two years, voters began showing more support for a candidate who promises to only raise taxes on the wealthy.
Partisan differences tell the tale. Seventy percent (70%) of Republicans favor a candidate who opposes all tax increases, while 81% of Democrats prefer a candidate who promises to raise taxes only on the rich. Voters not affiliated with either major political party are evenly divided.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 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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