The budget cuts in Washington have not hit home in America, at least not yet.
A plurality of U.S. residents think federal spending cuts will have no effect at all on them or their families, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll. At the same time, just as many think the cuts will have no effect or a positive effect on the overall economy as think the cuts will hurt the economy, the survey found.
The numbers indicate how the politics of the spending fight in Washington have yet to be settled in the country, and why the two major parties could continue to struggle to reach an agreement in budget debates.
President Barack Obama has not yet convinced the majority that the cuts will be bad for them and their country. He has hoped the country would rise up in anger at the spending cuts and force Republicans to agree to an alternative plan to curb the deficit that would include tax increases and fewer spending cuts.
And the impact of the spending cuts being implemented are unlikely to become any clearer before Obama and Congress move on to other budget debates in coming weeks. Unpaid days off for some federal workers, for example, will not start for several more weeks at least.
“In the early innings, people are not seeing the immediacy of this,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College in New York, which conducted the poll.
“They do think its going to be more negative than positive. They’re worried about a fragile economy. But in terms of themselves, almost half don’t think it’s going to have an effect.”
Forty-nine percent of registered voters said the current cuts will have no impact at all on them or their families, 39 percent said the cuts would have a negative impact, and 10 percent said they would have a positive impact.
Independents and Republicans are more likely to see no effect.
Among independents, 52 percent expect no effect, 39 percent expect a negative effect, and 7 percent expect a positive effect.
Among Republicans, it’s 52, 36, and 8 percent.
Democrats are evenly split at 41 percent each on whether the cuts will be negative or have no impact on their families. In a surprise, 14 percent of Democrats expect a positive impact for themselves, well more than independents or Republicans.
Economists expect the automatic cuts, called a sequester, to reduce growth this year by two-tenths of a percentage point, to seven-tenths of a point.