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Public Opinion Snapshot: Which Side Are You On? The Battle of the Budget

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Congress is in the middle of a battle over the budget. On one side are those who want the budget to include higher appropriations for programs in health care, education, infrastructure, homeland security, and law enforcement. On the other side are President Bush and his conservative allies who want to cut these domestic appropriations on the grounds that the levels proposed by the majority in Congress represent, as usual, wasteful and unneeded spending.

But which side is the public on? Thanks to a September poll by Hart Research for AFSCME/US Action, we can answer that question quite definitively.

The poll asked about spending proposals in 13 different areas and the public sided with proposals for higher spending levels in each case. The results for nine of these areas are shown below. Support levels in these areas range from 63 percent for an additional $35 billion for the state Children’s Health Insurance Program, an additional $1.5 billion for schools/Head Start, and an additional $1.6 billion for law enforcement/crime to 71 percent for an additional $630 million on highways and bridges and 74 percent for an additional $3.7 billion on veterans’ health care.

Evidently, “tax and spend” scare talk just doesn’t play the way it once did. The public appears quite willing to support increased spending to meet widely recognized social needs. Widely recognized outside of President Bush and his congressional allies, that is.


To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Elise Shulman (oceans)
202.796.9705 or

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or


This is part of a regular column: Public Opinion Snapshot

For more from the same column, click here