By Jason Millman - 12/10/10 03:24 PM EST
The public wants Congress to slash the federal deficit — but not at the expense of entitlements, including health programs and Social Security, according to a Bloomberg National Poll released Friday morning.
Eighty-two percent of respondents opposed Medicare cuts, but there was some support for reforming the system. About half of Republicans said they want to see Medicare and Social Security preserved in their current states.
Almost three-fourths (72 percent) opposed reducing Medicaid benefits for low-income people. Even 66 percent of Tea Party supporters, despite their passion for smaller government, opposed Medicaid reductions.
Support for retaining the Social Security structure was less strong, at 55 percent. Lower-income earners, in particular, favored the current system, the poll said.
The poll was taken Dec. 4-7, just after President Obama's debt commission released its final report recommending reductions in Medicare and Social Security to achieve long-term financial stability.