Poll: Most Americans think the budget deficit is rising, but it’s not
I think THIS is the result of both Republican demagoguery and public confusion:
The budget deficit is the lowest it has been since President Barack Obama took office, according to a Congressional Budget Office report this week. But don’t expect that to matter to the American people.
In fact, the deficit has been falling steadily since 2009. Yet a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows that Americans still think the deficit is going up and disapprove of Washington politicians accordingly.
According to the new poll, 54 percent of Americans think the budget deficit has increased since Obama took office in 2009, while only 19 percent know it has decreased. Fourteen percent think it has stayed the same since Obama became president.
People often conflate the deficit with the national debt, so the poll made sure to describe and ask about each. Because the government is still running deficits — though markedly smaller ones — the debt has increased throughout Obama’s presidency. The difference between those saying the deficit is rising and those who said the debt is increasing was small — with 62 percent of people saying the debt was expanding. Even with the clear description of the definition of the deficit, fewer than one in five correctly answered that it has shrunk under Obama.
But even members of the president’s own party don’t necessarily think the deficit has decreased. Only 30 percent of Democrats said the deficit had fallen — again, the correct answer. A combined 53 percent said the deficit had either stayed the same (21 percent) or risen (32 percent).
The poll was conducted before the Congressional Budget Office report, released Tuesday, said the deficit has decreased to $514 billion, the lowest since Obama took office in 2009.
Given that Americans don’t know the deficit is falling, it’s not surprising that they aren’t giving either Obama or congressional Republicans any love on the issue. Fifty-two percent said they disapproved and only 37 percent said they approved of the way the president is handling the deficit. By an even greater 68 percent to 21 percent margin, they also disapproved of congressional Republicans’ handling of the issue.