Friday, December 20, 2013

The American People Are Very "Unserious," Pew Poll Finds

A Pew poll released yesterday shows that the American people are very "unserious." You see, they think that protecting Social Security, Medicare, and social welfare spending are more important than deficit reduction and think that military spending should be cut to reduce the deficit. Clearly, the American people are not going to be invited to a Fix the Debt holiday bash this year.

69% of people found keeping Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are more important than reducing the deficit. Only 23% thought the opposite. That's 3:1 support for Social Security and Medicare.

59% found keeping spending for the poor at current levels more important than reducing the deficit. Only 33% thought the opposite.

On the other hand, 51% thought that reducing the deficit was more important than keeping military spending at current levels. Only 40% thought the opposite.

Democrats (79-16), Independents (66-25), and Republicans (62-29) all preferred keeping Social Security and Medicare at current levels to reducing the deficit. Obama,  Pelosi, and the Republican Party might want to cut Social Security and Medicare, but the American people on all sides of the spectrum do not.

As one would expect, Democrats wanted to protect spending for the poor and needy and to cut spending on the military. Republicans wanted to cut spending on the poor and needy and to maintain bloated Pentagon spending. Independents agreed with Democrats, but by weaker margins.

There was a large generational gap on the issue of military spending. Twice as many millennials found reducing the deficit more important than maintaining military spending (64% to 32%). On the other hand, seniors preferred maintaining military spending to reducing the deficit by a large margin(55% to 31%). The generational gap existed on both sides of the political spectrum, as the chart below shows.

The poll also showed that lower-income Republicans prioritized aid to the poor and needy over deficit reduction. The gap between lower income and higher income Republicans was quite large.

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