A new CBS poll found that roughly eight in 10 Americans want members of congress to compromise on the federal budget, rather than stick to their positions and risk a government shutdown. Eighty-one percent said President Obama and Democrats should compromise on some of their positions, compared to 79 percent who said the same of Republicans. A majority of Tea Party supporters, 56 percent, said they favored a compromise, while 40 percent said the GOP should stick to its positions.
The poll, conducted March 18-21, found that most Americans (nine in 10) believe the budget deficit is a “serious problem” — seven in 10 said it was “very serious” — and aren’t convinced that either party is doing enough to address it. Fifty-eight percent disapprove of the way Obama and Democrats are handling the deficit; compared to 65 percent for Republicans.
Interestingly, a slim majority (53 percent) think changes to Social Security and Medicare will be necessary to significantly reduce the deficit, including 62 percent of Republicans. When asked about what they’d be willing to give up in order to reduce the deficit, the poll respondents’ answers make clear the challenge that lies ahead for lawmakers like Paul Ryan, who will ultimately have to sell significant spending reforms to the voting public:
Reduce Social Security payments for individuals with higher incomes — 54% percent willing, 44% not willing
Reduce federal money for projects in your area — 52% willing, 43% not willing
Reduce defense spending — 49% willing, 46% not willing
Raise retirement age — 41% willing, 57% not willing
Pay more in taxes — 33% willing, 65% not willing
Reduce spending on Medicare — 22% willing, 76% not willing
Definitely worth noting that the poll was conducted among American “adults,” with no apparent voter screen (registered, likely, etc.), so the results should obviously be digested accordingly.