Majority of voters say Congress should cut spending to deal with budget deficit

A majority of registered voters say Congress should cut spending as a means of dealing with the budget deficit, according to a new American Barometer survey. 

The poll, conducted by Hill.TV and the HarrisX polling company, found that nearly three-quarters — 73 percent — of respondents said Congress should cut spending to manage the budget deficit, while 12 percent said lawmakers should raise taxes. 

Fifteen percent of voters polled said they did not think the budget deficit was an issue Congress should handle. 

Among respondents, the poll found that 82 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of independents said Congress should deal with the deficit by cutting spending.

"It's fun to see Democrats coming to the Republicans' side," GOP pollster Conor Maguire told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking." 

"Agreeing on this is fun, but exactly what are you going to pick to cut spending? Where is it going to cut from? That's obviously a whole other fight," he added. 

The Congressional Budget Office announced earlier this month that the overall federal deficit soared 17 percent in 2018, to $779 billion

The 2018 fiscal year aligned with the Republican tax law going into effect. Meanwhile, the deficit increase marked President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE's first full fiscal year in office. Republicans have historically advocated for fiscal conservatism.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Schumer briefs Democrats on impeachment trial 'mechanics' Trump legal team gears up for Senate impeachment trial in meeting with GOP senators MORE (R-Ky.) said earlier this month that mandatory spending, which does not require new approval by Congress each year, is the real reason behind the rising deficits. 

“The three big entitlement programs that are very popular, Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, that’s 70 percent of what we spend every year,” McConnell said. “There’s been a bipartisan reluctance to tackle entitlement changes because of the popularity of those programs.”

The American Barometer was conducted Oct. 19–20 among 1,000 registered voters. The sampling margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. 

— Julia Manchester