AP Poll: 65% Lack Confidence Congress Will Fix Budget, Debt Problems

January 3, 2014 - 2:03 PM

Even though Congress passed its first bipartisan budget since the Reagan Administration, 65 percent of Americans who consider the budget and national debt a priority have no confidence in the government to fix it in 2014, a new poll finds.  Moreover, over two-thirds of Americans lack confidence in the government's ability "to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014."

The poll, conducted online December 12-16 by AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research among a random national sample of 1,141 adults, asked respondents to list up to 10 issues they would "like the government to be working on" in 2014.  Healthcare topped the list, followed by jobs and the economy, then the nation's debt and deficit spending.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) brokered a budget deal last month that shaves $23 billion from the deficit over ten years and reverses $65 billion in sequestration cuts that targeted the Pentagon and other government programs.  New policies in the deal are split between airline fees, pension contributions from federal employees, and spending cuts.

As part of this deal, Republicans did not touch Social Security or Medicare, and Democrats did not raise taxes.  The deal, which received bipartisan support in the House and the Senate, was signed by President Obama during his Hawaii vacation.

In spite of the bipartisan spirit in Congress, 65 percent of those who listed the budget and national debt a priority in the AP-NORC poll have "no confidence" in the government's ability to fix it.  An additional 20 percent say they are only "slightly confident."

Additionally, 70 percent of those surveyed lack confidence in the government's ability "to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014," with only one in 20 saying the government works well and needs no changes.  The percentage of Americans saying the country is heading in the right direction has not breached 50 percent in about a decade, according to the AP.