April 10, 2013

Public Still Unwilling to Cut Entitlement Benefits to Reduce Deficit

55%

A majority of Americans say keeping Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are is more important than cutting the deficit

As the budget battles begin again with the arrival on Capitol Hill of President Obama’s fiscal proposal for the next year, there will be renewed focus on the issue of cutting the costs of entitlements.

But as Washington debates competing deficit reduction plans, the public continues to say it is more important to keep Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are than to take steps to reduce the budget deficit. There has been little change in these opinions over the past two years.

A survey in March found that 55% of Americans put the priority on keeping Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are over reducing the deficit. These majorities run across all age groups.
In comparison, about a third (34%) say taking steps to reduce the deficit is more important.

By about four-to-one (73% to 19%), Democrats prioritize keeping Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are over taking steps to reduce the deficit. Independents, by 49% to 37%, also say it is more important to keep Social Security and Medicare benefits are they are. By contrast, Republicans give higher priority to deficit reduction: 52% say it is more important to take steps to cut the deficit, while 37% say it is more important to keep Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are. Read more