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56% Favor A Congressional Candidate Who Endorses Balanced Approach to Debt Debate

Both major political parties are looking to next year’s elections to resolve the nation’s budget stalemate, and for now most voters would opt for a congressional candidate who balances spending cuts with tax hikes over one who’s totally opposed to any tax increases. 

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Likely U.S. Voters would be more likely to support a candidate for Congress who said that a balanced approach including spending cuts and increased tax revenue is needed to reduce the federal debt. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 34% would be more likely to favor a candidate who promised to vote against all tax hikes. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Given the dividing lines in the current political debate, the partisan split is predictable, but Democrats are more passionate about their position than Republicans are. Fifty-four percent (54%) of Republicans would prefer a candidate who is against all tax increases. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Democrats - and 56% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties - would favor a candidate who supports a mix of spending cuts and increased taxes.

At the same time, Republicans enjoy a 10-point advantage on the issue of which political party they trust more on the economy. Additionally, 55% oppose the inclusion of any tax hikes in the deal to raise the federal debt ceiling.

“These results suggest that focusing exclusively on opposition to tax hikes rather than solutions to the federal deficit crisis is a losing position for Republicans,” says Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. “At a time when the nation has more than $14 trillion in public debt and $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, voters want to hear how we can limit the burden we are passing on to future generations. Spending cuts are preferred over tax hikes, but the primary objective right now is to reduce the debt.”

Regardless of the rhetoric, most voters are worried that the final deal to increase the government’s debt ceiling will raise taxes too much and won't cut spending enough

It’s also worth noting that the president’s Job Approval rating has slipped as the debt ceiling debate drags on.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The national telephone survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on July 22-23, 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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