Utahns favor the tax-raising/program-cutting budget compromise reached between President Bush and Congress, but just barely, the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates also found that most Utahns favor spending cuts over tax increases as a way to solve the federal deficit, and they think congressional Republicans and Democrats as well as presidents Ronald Reagan and Bush are responsible for the budget mess.In a survey taken just before the November general election, Jones found that 51 percent favored the budget compromise - which increased income taxes on those making $35,000 a year and more, raised the gasoline tax and reduced Medicare benefits.
Forty-four percent disapproved of the package and 5 percent didn't know, Jones found.
In previous surveys, Jones found Utahns fairly well split over various budget-deficit plans as well.
Asked who is to blame for the budget deficit problems, 23 percent said Democrats in Congress (Democrats control both the House and Senate), 5 percent said congressional Republicans, 2 percent said President Bush, 19 percent blamed former President Reagan, and 42 percent said a combination of the above is to blame.
Finally, Jones asked what was the best solution to reducing the deficit. Only 1 percent said raise taxes, 52 percent said cut spending, while 40 percent said a combination of tax increases and budget cuts.
Utah's congressional delegation contains one Democrat, Rep. Wayne Owens, and four Republicans - Sens. Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch, Reps. Jim Hansen and Howard Nielson.
Only Owens voted in favor of the final budget package. All the Republicans voted against it. Usually, Owens has an uncanny ability to vote the way his 2nd District constituents lean on major issues. However, this time he missed.
In fact, when Jones broke out the budget compromise question by U.S. House districts, only 2nd District residents opposed the compromise, while more 1st and 3rd District residents favored it - just the opposite of the way Hansen, Owens and Nielson voted.
Jones found that 53 percent of 1st District residents favored the compromise - yet Hansen voted "no." Second District residents opposed the compromise, 48 percent to 47 percent - yet Owens voted "yes." And 52 percent of 3rd District voters favored the compromise - yet Nielson voted "no."
DESERET NEWS/KSL-TV POLL
Who do you feel is MOST to blame for the recent budget crises in Congress?
Democrats in Congress...23%
Republicans in Congress...5%
In your opinion, what is the best solution to reduce the federal deficit:
Raise taxes and fees...1%
Do you favor or oppose the just-passed compromise budget agreement?