Prior to State of the Union Address, Voters Urge Continued Focus on the Nation's Long-Term Fiscal Future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 28, 2014
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Contact: Sarah Stipicevic, (212) 542-9265 sstipicevic@pgpf.org

83% of Voters Believe the Debt Should be a High Priority in the President’s Speech, Including Broad Majorities of Democrats (77%), Independents (83%), and Republicans (90%)

While Last Month’s Budget Deal is Seen as a Positive Development, Only 2% of Voters Believe it Successfully Addressed the Country’s Long-Term Fiscal Problems

 

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poll results

NEW YORK — In advance of the President’s State of the Union address, Americans want their policymakers to maintain focus on our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges. A new poll released today commissioned by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation finds that 83% of voters believe the debt should be a high priority in the President’s speech, including broad majorities of Democrats (77%), Independents (83%), and Republicans (90%).

Specifically, voters overwhelmingly agree that it is important for President Obama to use the State of the Union to address the country’s long-term debt (94% important, including 68% who say it is very important); ways to reduce the federal deficit (91% important, 63% very); entitlement reforms (88% important, 59% very); and tax reforms both for individual Americans (85% important) and American businesses (84% important).

Additionally, though Americans view last month’s budget accord as a positive development and reprieve from Congress’s partisan gridlock, only 2% believe that the agreement successfully addressed the country’s long-term fiscal problems. Voters are widely disheartened that the plan does not go further in addressing the national debt, as nearly eight in ten (79%) agree that the debt remains on an unsustainable and dangerous path, despite the agreement. Concerns about the nation’s debt continue to fuel economic skepticism for many voters, as three-fourths (76%) maintain doubts about the economy because the budget agreement did not significantly reduce the debt.

"This poll shows a clear disconnect between voters’ strong interest in addressing our nation’s fiscal health, and those in Washington who keep putting off the tough decisions,” said Michael A. Peterson, President and COO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. "Despite some economic improvements and lower near-term deficits, Americans know that our long-term fiscal challenges remain a fundamental threat to our economy, today and in the future. Americans overwhelmingly want to see this issue at the top of the policy agenda for Congress and the President, because solving our long-term debt problem is vital to laying a foundation for future growth and prosperity."

Key Findings

  • Over eight in ten (83%) voters believe the debt should be a high priority in the President’s State of the Union address, including broad majorities of Democrats (77%), Independents (83%), and Republicans (90%).
  • Voters overwhelmingly agree that it is important for President Obama to address the following fiscal issues during the speech:
  • the country’s long-term debt (94% important, including 68% who say it is very important);
  • ways to reduce the federal deficit (91% important, 63% very);
  • entitlement reforms (88% important, 59% very);
  • and tax reforms both for individual Americans (85% important) and American businesses (84% important).
  • Though a majority of voters (59%) agree that last month’s budget deal was an important first step in fixing Washington’s broken fiscal policymaking process, a mere 2% believe it successfully addressed the country’s long-term fiscal problems.
  • Fully half of voters, 50%, believe the agreement made no real progress on our fundamental fiscal problems
  • Voters are widely disappointed that the plan does not go further in addressing the national debt, as nearly eight in ten (79%) agree that the debt remains on an unsustainable and dangerous path.

See full poll results here.

Methodology
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation commissioned the poll by the Global Strategy Group and North Star Opinion Research to survey public opinion on the national debt. The nationwide poll included 1,000 U.S. registered voters, surveyed by telephone between January 20 and January 23, 2014. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. The poll examined voters’ opinions on the national debt, political leadership, and America’s fiscal and economic health.

About the Peter G. Peterson Foundation
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization established by Pete Peterson — businessman, philanthropist and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce. The Foundation is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the nature and urgency of key long-term fiscal challenges threatening America's future and to accelerating action on them. To address these challenges successfully, we work to bring Americans together to find and implement sensible, long-term solutions that transcend age, party lines and ideological divides in order to achieve real results. To learn more, please visit www.pgpf.org.

 

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