Deficit Reduction Declines as Policy Priority
Just Half of Democrats Rate Deficit as ‘Top Priority
For the first time since Barack Obama took office in 2009, deficit reduction has slipped as a policy priority among the public. Overall, 63% say reducing the budget deficit should be a top priority for Congress and the president this year, down from 72% a year ago. Most of the decline has come among Democrats: Only about half of Democrats – 49% – view deficit reduction as a top priority, down 18 points since last January.
The Pew Research Center’s annual survey of policy priorities, conducted Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults, finds that the public’s agenda continues to be dominated by the economy (80% top priority), jobs (74%) and terrorism (73%). As in past years, the lowest-rated priorities are dealing with global warming (29%) and dealing with global trade (28%). (Click here  for an interactive showing the public’s priorities since 2002.)
Deficit reduction had surged as a policy priority during Obama’s first term: Between 2009 and 2013 , the share citing the deficit as a top priority rose 19 points. In the current survey, majorities of Republicans (80%) and independents (66%) continue to say reducing the budget deficit should be a top priority for the president and Congress. However, just 49% of Democrats view this as a top priority, the lowest percentage since Obama took office. A year ago, 67% of Democrats rated cutting the deficit as a top policy goal.
Note that Democrats have remained relatively constant in their priority for Deficit Reduction until the most recent poll. Republicans were not at all interested in budget deficit reduction while Bush was president, but immediately ramped up their “concern” when Obama became president. It shows that the Republican “concern” is completely political in nature and is not based in reason or concern for the country….