Voters Blame Government Spending, Not Stingy Taxpayers, for Size of Budget Deficit, By More than Three-to-One Margin

More than three times as many voters blame politicians’ refusal to reduce spending for the size of the nation’s budget deficit as blame the unwillingness of taxpayers to pay higher taxes, a new national survey shows.

The survey, conducted on January 18-19 and 22, 2023 by Rasmussen Reports, asked 900 U.S. likely voters: “Which is more to blame for the size of the federal budget deficit?”

Two-thirds (66%) say they blame “Politicians’ unwillingness to reduce government spending,” while about one in five (21%) fault “Taxpayers’ unwillingness to pay more in taxes.” Thirteen percent (13%) aren’t sure.

Majorities of Republicans (77%), Democrats (52%) and unaffiliated voters (71%) all say that politicians are more responsible for the size of the deficit, than are taxpayers. However, Democrat voters (28%) are more likely than either Republicans (18%) or others (17%) to lay the blame on stingy taxpayers.

A majority (56%) of all U.S. likely voters say a partial government shutdown would be better than Congress authorizing higher spending, including 73% of Republicans, 56% of unaffiliated voters and 41% of Democrats.


In contrast, about one in three (34%) of all voters say they’d prefer that “Congress avoid a partial government shutdown by authorizing government spending at a higher level.” Half (50%) of Democrat voters think it would be better to raise spending than to have a partial government shutdown, compared to 32% of Republicans and 30% of unaffiliated voters.


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