The size of the federal budget deficit makes American voters worried and angry, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.
The poll shows that 54 percent of voters say the deficit makes them feel worried, while 32 percent say they feel angry. Few -- 8 percent -- are okay with the new estimates that have the federal deficit growing to over $1.5 trillion dollars.
Furthermore, more voters -- 47 percent -- think President Obama's federal spending freeze proposal is just a gimmick that won't really help, while 37 percent, or almost four in 10, think it's an important step in reducing the deficit.
As the nation debates the president's new budget proposal, the poll finds 57 percent of voters think the federal government is "trying to do too much these days." The rest split about evenly between doing "too little" (17 percent) and "about the right amount" (21 percent).
Voters have a gloomy outlook for the economy, as 56 percent say "the worst is yet to come." And while that's a bit more optimistic than last January, when 63 percent held that view, it's actually less optimistic than August, when just under half (49 percent) thought the worst was still ahead.
Some 37 percent think the "worst is over," down from 44 percent who had this positive perspective six months ago. About a year ago, 29 percent said they thought the worst of the nation's economic troubles were over.
Either way -- whether the worst is over or still ahead -- there is a widespread perception among Americans that the country is still in a recession.
The national telephone poll was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. among 900 registered voters from Feb. 2 to 3. For the total sample, the poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Voters may worry about the deficit, but they are angry about bank bonuses. A 56 percent majority say they feel angry about bailed-out banks and Wall Street firms giving bonuses again. About one in four feel worried and 9 percent are OK with it.
"This suggests President Obama's more populist rhetoric recently may be in tune with the voter mood on this issue," said Ernest Paicopolos, a principal of Opinion Dynamics Corp.
Boosting the Economy and Creating Jobs
Five times as many voters think cutting taxes (66 percent) is more likely to stimulate the economy than increasing government spending (13 percent). And cutting taxes across the board for all Americans (52 percent) is seen as a more effective to boost the economy than targeted tax cuts (35 percent).
Moreover, about two-thirds (65 percent) do not think another government stimulus plan would create new jobs. One in four (25 percent) think it would.