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Americans Want Deficit Reduction But Oppose Cutting Specific Programs

While Americans largely agree that the record federal budget deficit is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, the results of a USA Today/Gallup poll released on Wednesday showed that most are opposed to cutting spending on specific programs.

The survey asked a random sample of adults whether they favor or oppose cutting spending on a number of programs, with only a reduction in foreign aid being supported by a majority of those surveyed. Fifty-nine percent said they favor cutting foreign aid, while 37 percent said they were opposed.

Meanwhile, more than 6 in 10 said that they are opposed to cutting spending on education, Social Security, and Medicare.

A majority of those surveyed also said they oppose reductions in spending on anti-poverty programs, national defense, homeland security, aid to farmers, and funding for the arts and sciences.

When looked at along party lines, a majority of Republicans favor cutting foreign aid and funding for the arts and sciences, while a majority of Democrats favor cutting foreign aid and military spending.

At the same time, the poll found that 50 percent of those surveyed said that Congress should only vote to raise the debt limit if it can agree ahead of time on measures to reduce the deficit.

Sixteen percent said that the debt limit should be raised regardless of whether Congress can agree on measures to reduce the deficit, while 29 percent said they don't know enough to have an opinion.

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