The Sequester: Many Expect A Personal Impact

March 06, 2013, 2:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 3/2/2013) As they lived through the first few days of the $85 billion across-the-board cuts in government spending required by the budget sequester, Americans may not have yet felt the pain, but a majority of them in the Economist/YouGov Poll expect they will.

But less than one in five thinks the cuts will have a major effect on their families. Another 36% expect there will be a minor impact. However, many just aren’t sure what the requester’s impact will be on them personally.

Democrats are a little more worried than Republicans that the sequester will have a major impact on them; but only 26% of Republicans expect they won’t be affected personally at all. Those with incomes under $40,000 a year are more concerned about a major impact than those earning more than $100,000 annually.

There is greater expectation about the sequester having a major impact on the military, on those receiving government assistance, and on government employees and contractors. Just about two in four expect each of those groups will face a major effect.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to fear major impacts on people receiving government assistance and on government employees.

And while most Americans want to spare some groups from the sequester cuts (only 16% would spare no one), there is no consensus on which groups should not have to suffer. Just under half would exclude the military from the sequester, 37% would exclude those receiving government assistance, and just under one in five would spare government employees and contractors.

But the choice of whom to spare may be a political one. More Republicans (62%) than Democrats (43%) and independents (46%) would spare the military. Democrats (55%) are more than three times as likely as Republicans (17%) to want to exclude those on government assistance from feeling the sequester cuts. Government employees get less support from both parties. Republicans are nearly three times as likely as Democrats to say the across-the-board cuts should remain even and across-the-board.

Women are more likely to want to spare each group than are men.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association