STORRS, Conn. – President Barack Obama’s proposal Tuesday to combine spending cuts and tax reforms to avoid sharp budget reductions scheduled to take effect next month may find a receptive audience among Americans who were already looking for such measures before the president’s announcement, according to a new University of Connecticut/Hartford Courant poll.

The survey found that 49 percent of Americans want to the government to reduce the federal deficit with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases, while 40 percent want to see the matter addressed by spending cuts alone. Just 3 percent of those surveyed support reducing the deficit by raising taxes on all households.

Among the 49 percent who want combined measures to reduce the deficit, spending cuts are the most popular option, the poll found. Nearly half said the combination should be mostly spending cuts, while about 29 percent said mostly tax increases. Nearly one-quarter of the respondents are uncertain as to the exact mix of the deficit reduction package.

Democrats are more likely to support a combination of cuts and tax hikes than Republicans. Just 30 percent of Republicans support a mixture, compared to 69 percent of Democrats.

Regionally, support for a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts was above 50 percent everywhere except the South, where 41 percent support it. By comparison, 48 percent of Southerners say they want the deficit reduced by spending cuts alone.

“Spending cuts are definitely the preferred option for addressing the deficit, but nearly 50 percent of the country thinks they won’t do the job alone,” says UConn Poll Director Jennifer Necci Dineen, a faculty member in the Department of Public Policy.

The findings are based on The University of Connecticut/Hartford Courant Poll. The national sample of 1,002 randomly selected adults was interviewed by landline and cellular telephone between Jan. 22 and Jan. 28, 2013.
The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 3 percentage points for the entire sample, and larger for subgroups.

The data have been weighted by the number of adults in a household and the number of telephone numbers, land and cellular, at which adults in the household can be reached in order to equalize the chances of an individual adult being selected. The data have also been weighted by the sex, race and level of education of the respondent based on the American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census.

The University of Connecticut/Hartford Courant Poll is a joint effort between one of the nation’s top research universities and the oldest continuously published newspaper in America. The poll’s purpose is to provide unbiased opinion research into critical questions affecting both the state of Connecticut and the nation.

Download the polling data (PDF).