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Sorting out the truth in politics

PolitiFact: Majority support Obama's mixed approach to deficit

The statement

Says a majority of Americans — and Republicans — support his approach for deficit reduction.

President Barack Obama, Friday in a press briefing

The ruling

The best evidence in Obama's favor is a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center and USA Today, as the sequester loomed, with 1,504 adults across the country from Feb. 13-18.

To reduce the budget deficit, 19 percent said the president and Congress should focus only on spending cuts. Just 3 percent preferred only tax increases.

A strong majority — 76 percent — sought a combination of both.

The breakdown of support for a mixed approach by party: Democrats, 90 percent; Republicans:, 56 percent; independents, 76 percent.

A November 2012 poll from CNN/ORC International of 1,023 adults asked, "If you had to choose, would you rather see Congress and President Obama agree to a budget plan that …"

Only included cuts in government spending, 29 percent; or a budget plan that includes a combination of spending cuts and tax increases on higher-income Americans, 67 percent.

The party breakdown for the "combination"? Democrats, 87 percent; Republicans, 52 percent; independents, 60 percent

Meanwhile, a Bloomberg News poll conducted Feb. 15-18 showed majority support for curbing the budget deficit "through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases on companies and high earners, as the White House has proposed," according to Bloomberg's article.

We also came across a Fox News poll, conducted by Republican and Democratic pollsters of 1,010 registered voters on Feb. 25-27.

It asked, "Would you prefer the budget deal reduces the deficit by focusing …"

Only on cutting government spending, 33 percent; mostly on cutting spending, and a small number of tax increases, 19 percent; on an equal mix of spending cuts and tax increases, 36 percent; only on adding further tax increases, 7 percent; don't know: 5 percent.

So, a majority of respondents, 55 percent, supported a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. The results we saw didn't break out responses by party.

Still, a survey from Rasmussen Reports offered a contrary picture, with 45 percent of respondents finding spending cuts the most attractive approach, a higher percentage than supported either taxes alone or a combination of the two.

We rate Obama's statement Mostly True.

Becky Bowers, Times staff writer

Edited for print. Read the full version at

PolitiFact: Majority support Obama's mixed approach to deficit 03/04/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 4, 2013 9:07pm]
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