Deliberate decisions about the 2012 federal budget
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Deliberate Decisions About the 2012 Federal Budget. How the American Public Would Reduce Spending and Increase Taxes to Shrink the Budget Deficit. Curtiss Cobb, Norman Nie and Saar Gold 67 th Annual Conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR)

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Deliberate Decisions About the 2012 Federal Budget

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Deliberate decisions about the 2012 federal budget

Deliberate Decisions About the 2012 Federal Budget

How the American Public Would Reduce Spending and Increase Taxes to Shrink the Budget Deficit

Curtiss Cobb, Norman Nie and Saar Gold

67th Annual Conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR)

May 2012, Orlando, FL.


Outline

Outline

The Budget Dilemma

The Budget Exercise

The Overall Solution

The Details

Conclusion

2


1 the dilemma

1. The Dilemma

The American public is more concerned over the state of the economy and issues related to government spending than any other issues.

3


1 the dilemma1

1. The Dilemma

The 2012 Federal Budget projects:

$2,628 billion in revenue

-$3,729 billion in spending

$1,101 billion deficit

  • Leaders in Washington DC are unable to reach a compromise to deal with the budget deficit.

  • Can the American public do what Congress and the President cannot?

4


Deliberate decisions about the 2012 federal budget

Probability-based ABS recruitment

Recruitment takes place throughout the year

Representative of U.S. adults

Includes:

Adults with no Internet access (24% of adults)

  • KP provides laptop and free ISP

    Cell phone only (30% of adults)

    Spanish-language

    Extensive profile data maintained on each member

  • demographics, attitudes, behaviors, health, media usage, etc.

    Samples from the panel are assigned to projects

  • e-mail invitations and a link to the online survey questionnaire

55,000+ members

5


2 the budget exercise

2. The Budget Exercise

1,778 interviews with U.S. general population adults

Fielded from July 28 through August 9, 2011

Interactive Budget Exercise

28 area of federal spending presented in random order

All 6 personal income tax brackets and the average corporate tax rate

Randomized whether respondents received spending or taxes first

Immediate feedback to respondents

Allowed respondents to change responses as much as they wanted until they reached their preferred solution

6


1 the budget exercise

1. The Budget Exercise

Spending

7


2 the budget exercise1

2. The Budget Exercise

Revenue

8


3 the overall solution

3. The Overall Solution

*Spending and Revenue do not match total federal spending or revenue due to only asking respondents about a subset of programs and taxes.

The “average” American wants…

Results in a $27 billion surplus for 2012.

9


3 the overall solution1

3. The Overall Solution

19% wants less than $1 trillion in spending.

3% want to increase spending.

Distribution of Spending Solutions

10


3 the overall solution2

3. The Overall Solution

Without the slash and burn crowd, the “average” American wants to cut spending by 13% and increase revenue through taxes by 10%.

That amounts to $3 in spending reductions for every $1 in new tax revenue.

11


3 the overall solution3

3. The Overall Solution

There are clear differences across the political spectrum, but every group’s total solution is within $100 billion of each other.

12


3 the overall solution4

3. The Overall Solution

Average Desired Tax Rate for High Earners and Corporations

13


3 the overall solution5

3. The Overall Solution

Cut by 1-10%

Cut by10-15%

Cut by more than 15%

There is almost no taste for making major cuts to entitlement programs.

Individual want to raise taxes on those that earn more than they do themselves and on corporations.

14


3 the overall solution6

3. The Overall Solution

The solution looks simple at this level, however….

The Devil is always in the details.

15


4 the details

4. The Details

Highest Agreement

7% Cut

7% Cut

5% Cut

5% Cut

11% Cut

11% Cut

13% Cut

13% Cut

13% Cut

20% Cut

13% Cut

20% Cut

With few exceptions, agreement on spending is highest among categories the public wants to cut least (on average)…

16


4 the details1

4. The Details

Lowest Agreement

56% Cut

5% Increase

30% Cut

13% Cut

23% Cut

1% Cut

And lowest among categories the public most wants to cut.

17


4 the details2

4. The Details

Moreover, there are 4 competing spending priorities, which makes reaching a compromise a multi-dimensional problem with no median vote

18


4 the details3

4. The Details

Ranked spending priorities show differences along partisan lines

W=Social Welfare; S=Security; F=The Future; I=Special Interest

19


4 the details4

4. The Details

Ranked spending priorities show differences along age and race/ethnic lines.

W=Social Welfare; S=Security; F=The Future; I=Special Interest

20


5 conclusions

5. Conclusions

The average solution is $3 in less spending for every $1 in new revenue.

Differences in political views seem relatively modest.

There is almost no taste for making major cuts to existing domestic entitlement programs.

Moreover, there are 4 competing spending priorities, which makes reaching a compromise a multi-dimensional problem with no median vote.

21


Thank you curtiss cobb@gfk com

Thank [email protected]

Curtiss L. Cobb III is Director of Survey Methodology at GfK.

Norman H. Nie is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Chicago and Stanford University, and co-founder of Knowledge Networks, now a GfK company.

Saar Golde is Data Solutions Architect at Revolution Analytics.


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