Poll: Six in 10 say debt ceiling hike should be tied to spending cuts

Republicans have suggested that they want either steep entitlement cuts or the defunding of ObamaCare in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, and those views appear to have popular support. 

The Treasury Department on Wednesday said the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling needed to be lifted by Oct. 17. 

The poll also showed a majority of voters are worried about budget deficits. 

According to the survey, 59 percent of Americans believe the deficit is growing compared to last year, while just 10 percent say it is getting smaller.

In fact, the Congressional Budget Office said in July that the deficit was down 37.6 percent from the year before. The CBO estimated at that time that by the end of September, the annual deficit would be $670 billion — significantly below last year's $1.09 trillion.

But the budget deficit is projected to expand in the longer run as the costs of health entitlements rise. 

More than half — 56 percent — of those surveyed said that the sequester cuts to the federal budget hurt the economy. By contrast, only a quarter of Americans said they helped.

Moreover, 64 percent said they preferred targeted cuts to reduce government spending, rather than the across-the-board cuts mandated by the sequester.

At the same time, two-thirds of Americans said they didn't think anyone in their household would be affected by the cuts. By contrast, three in 10 Americans said someone in their family had been impacted.

The survey also found broad support of reforming Social Security and Medicare to benefit poorer Americans. Of those surveyed, 53 percent backed a proposal to change Social Security so that the wealthier got fewer benefits and the poor got more. Some 59 percent felt the same way about Medicare.

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