Poll: More Americans want deficit action, fewer sure they'll get it

The poll comes as officials on both sides have unveiled contrasting deficit-reduction outlines, all the while slamming the vision coming from the other side. 

Republicans have sharply criticized President Obama’s April 13 deficit-reduction speech for being short on concrete proposals and calling for higher taxes. 

For their part, Democrats have tried to highlight the changes the House GOP fiscal 2012 budget would make to Medicare (turning it into a voucher-like system) and Medicaid (changing it to block grants). Republican lawmakers in their home districts have faced some pushback from constituents over those policies and for their tax proposals. 

The Washington Post-Pew poll also found Democrats less likely to believe deficit reduction needed to come immediately and more confident that policymakers will act.

Still, roughly 8 in 10 Democrats called for action right now, essentially the same ratio as independents. About 9 in 10 Republicans also want deficits to be addressed immediately.

Meanwhile, 44 percent of Democrats foresee significant progress over five years, while just 26 percent of Republicans think that will occur.