Poll: Voters pessimistic on supercommittee deal

Most voters are doubtful that the congressional supercommittee will reach an agreement on a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction deal, according to a poll released on Friday.

The McClatchy-Marist poll found that 85 percent of voters are not very confident‚ or not confident at all over the supercommittee’s prospects. Only 13 percent expressed some degree of confidence, while 2 percent were unsure.

{mosads}If the deficit-reduction committee does reach a deal, it won’t be until the last minute; the Congressional Budget Office needs the agreement by Monday in order to score the proposal in time for the Nov. 23 deadline.

If an agreement cannot be reached, a sequestration mechanism will trigger $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts.

The pessimism among voters is not specific to any party. Eighty-eight percent of Independent voters, 84 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats are doubtful that a deal would be reached.

Still, like the committee itself, voters are split over the specifics of a potential deal.

On the issue of defense spending, opinions break along party lines. Fifty-one percent said major cuts to defense spending should not be a part of the plan, while 45 percent said they should. Sixty-eight percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Independents are against defense cuts, while 62 percent of Democrats want them included in a deal.

If a deal is not reached, more than half of the $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts would come from the Pentagon’s defense budget.

Sixty-seven percent surveyed are in favor of increasing taxes on the wealthy. That breaks down to 83 percent of Democrats saying they’re in favor of raising taxes on the highest earners, 64 percent of Independents, and 53 percent of Republicans.

The one area where both Republicans and Democrats seem to agree is that major cuts should not come from Social Security and Medicare. Eighty-one percent are against major cuts to the programs, while only 17 percent are in favor.

Republicans will shoulder the bulk of the blame if the supercommittee fails. According to the poll, 39 percent said Republicans would be responsible if a deal isn’t reached, although 27 percent would blame Democrats and 23 percent would blame both parties.

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