A new poll released this morning by Public Religion Research Institute shows the American public has clear ideas about what steps political leaders should take to reduce the federal deficit.
The poll shows that a majority of white evangelicals are opposed to cutting federal anti-poverty programs for the poor and nearly three-quarters of white evangelicals oppose cutting funding for religious organizations that help the poor.
The poll, based on a survey of 1,002 American adults performed November 10 -14, also shows a nation divided both by political affiliation and generation when it comes to attitudes towards Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party.
The survey found that nearly 7-in-10 (68 percent) of Americans say that in order to reduce the deficit, it’s fair to ask wealthier Americans to pay a greater percentage in taxes than the middle class or those less well off.
“Although political leaders on the Congressional super-committee cannot agree on a plan to reduce the deficit, the American public largely agrees on a blueprint,” said Daniel Cox, PRRI Research Director. “Americans favor taxing wealthier Americans and corporations, and they oppose cutting social programs and military funding.”
Majorities of all major religious groups, agree that it’s fair to ask wealthier Americans to pay a greater percentage in taxes than the middle class or those less well off.
Respondents were asked about measures they would favor or oppose in reducing the deficit and a stron majority favor increasing taxes on Americans making at least $1 million dollars per year (69 percent) and eliminating tax breaks for large corporations (57 percent).
Not surprisingly, Americans oppose cutting funding for the military (74 percent). But, contrary to popular belief most opposed cutting federal funding for social programs that help the poor (67 percent), and cutting federal funding for religious organizations that help the poor (66 percent).
The survey also found:
There are interesting divisions over cutting federal funding for programs that help the poor, depending on whether the funding is going to religious organizations. Nearly 7-in-10 (68 percent Republicans oppose cutting federal funding to religious organizations helping the poor, but only 46 percent oppose cutting general federal funding to help the poor. Among Democrats, there is an opposite, though less pronounced, pattern: 83 percent oppose cutting general federal funding to help the poor, but only 66 percent oppose cutting federal funding to religious organizations to help the poor.
On Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party:
- Americans are equally likely to say that the Occupy Wall Street movement shares their values as to say the Tea Party movement shares their values (29 percent each).
- For both the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement, about one-third of Americans say each movement is a good thing for society (32 percent each), 1-in-5 say each movement is a bad thing for society (19 percent and 18 percent respectively), and about 4-in-10 say each movement doesn’t matter one way or another (38 percent and 39 percent respectively).
- Among religious groups, white evangelical Protestants are the most likely to say that the Tea Party movement shares their values (49 percent), but nearly 4-in-10 (39 percent) say it does not. Nearly 4-in-10 (38 percent) of religiously unaffiliated Americans say the Occupy Wall Street movement shares their values, compared to 34 percent of minority Protestants, 30 percent of white mainline Protestants, 29 percent of Catholics, and only 18 percent of white evangelical Protestants.
- Americans who are part of the Millennial generation (ages 18-29) are significantly more likely to say the Occupy Wall Street movement shares their values (34 percent) than to say the Tea Party movement shares their values (26 percent).
Tim King is Communications Director for Sojourners. Follow Tim on Twitter @TMKing.