NEW YORK, May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The issue of the budget deficit is one that many people know exists, but are not exactly clear on how it should be handled. And, when it comes to who among elected officials they would trust to handle the deficit, it turns out majorities of Americans would not trust any of these people or groups: just over half of Americans (51%) do not trust President Obama to handle the budget deficit (while 49% do) and over half of U.S. adults (56%) do not trust the President’s economic advisors.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,184 adults surveyed online between May 9 and 16, 2011 by Harris Interactive.
Those in Congress fare even worse. Two-thirds of Americans say they do not trust Republicans (65%) or Democrats (66%) in Congress to handle the deficit. The highest elected Republican official, Speaker of the House John Boehner, does just as poorly as 65% say they do not trust him to handle the budget deficit.
Depending on which political party one belongs to, they may be more likely to have greater trust levels on this issue. More than four in five Democrats (83%) trust President Obama to handle the deficit while three-quarters (76%) trust his advisors and almost two-thirds (64%) trust Democrats in Congress. Looking at Republicans, not surprisingly, over two-thirds (68%) trust Republicans in Congress and over half (55%) trust Speaker Boehner to handle the budget deficit. Independents, however, do not trust anyone. Just two in five trust President Obama (43%), 36% trust his economic advisors, 31% trust Speaker Boehner, 28% trust Republicans in Congress and 22% trust Democrats in Congress.
There are also some differences by household income. Just over half of those with a household income of under $35,000 a year (51%) and over $100,000 a year (52%) say they trust President Obama on the budget deficit. Those in the highest income bracket are also more likely to trust the President’s economic advisors (49%), Republicans in Congress (41%) and the Speaker of the House (40%) to handle the budget deficit. Those in the lowest income bracket are more likely to trust Democrats in Congress (41%) to handle the deficit.
The budget deficit is a serious issue that is not going away and may become even more prominent over the summer with the debate over the debt ceiling. The American public is looking for someone they trust on this and, at the moment, elected officials are not filling that void. This could be a chance for a Republican presidential candidate to stand out from the other GOP hopefuls as well as from those currently in power if he or she presents a plan people can trust.