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Americans Oppose “Trigger” Defense Cuts in Debt Deal

This is a bit unexpected, considering Americans are strongly in favor of spending cuts. But today’s Rasmussen poll found only 29 percent of voters support the automatic reductions (half of which will come from defense) that will go into effect if the congressional “super committee” fails to reach an agreement:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that 29 percent favor automatic spending cuts, including cuts from defense spending and Medicare, if Congress doesn’t reduce spending by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. Fifty-two percent oppose these automatic spending cuts. Another 19 percent are undecided.

Even more interesting: Republican (35 percent) and independent voters (32 percent) are actually more likely to support the automatic spending cuts than Democrats (20 percent).

There was initially concern the 2 percent cuts to Medicare included in the automatic reductions might not be substantial enough to scare Democrats into making a deal. That was partially because the Medicare cuts included in the trigger mechanism won’t impact beneficiaries, according to reports.

But if Democratic voters are already strongly opposed to the automatic cuts, then Democrats on the super committee will have more of an incentive to reach an agreement. And with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen warning the automatic defense reductions would have devastating consequences for the Armed Services, Republican voters are clearly adamant their GOP representatives on the super committee don’t default on defense.

Voters want spending cuts. But they want Washington to make the tough choices, and they aren’t going to tolerate lawmakers passing on the responsibility to an automatic mechanism.