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Important new Gallup poll finds Americans want serious federal spending cuts except when they don't

February 24, 2011 |  4:54 am

Obama is a happy fellow fileYou know all those crucial political negotiations about federal spending between Republicans and Democrats, the high-stakes, good-willed, give-and-take talks that you say you want but haven't seen much of, except each side's suits talking separately at television cameras when they're not in another recess?

Well, a new public opinion survey finds that more Americans (42%) think congressional Republicans are doing a better job of not getting the job done.

However, the number of those who think Democrats are doing an OK job of not meeting in the middle is very close to the Republicans, at 39%.

No one has ever accused the American public of knowing exactly what it wants when it comes to politics. The new USA Today/Gallup Poll survey confirms this maybe.

Conducted this week, it finds that by a 60%-32% margin, those surveyed want legislators who share their views to reach an agreement and avoid a federal government shutdown after March 4. OK, got that?Republican senate leader Mitch McConnell looks happy too, file

At the same time, they indicate that while they want both sides to negotiate and they want to avoid a federal government shutdown, they also want deeper spending cuts than either Republicans or Democrats have proposed.

The findings also reveal that while 62% of the Democrats polled say they believe that President Obama's proposed spending cuts, which are really just reduced spending increases, are "about right," a plurality of Republicans (45%) says that their leaders' cuts, which are real, are actually insufficient.

Not even close to what Americans aren't sure they really want done, as long as it doesn't affect any program they benefit from.

So as you can see, the outlook is excellent now that by late next week, schizo Americans will be tired of this foreign-crisis stuff about places they'll never go to with all the hyphenated names that no one spells the same.

And these Americans will be focused back on Washington leaders who, understandably, don't understand how far voters really want them to go to not do too much or too little on this domestic-spending crisis.

But all that needs to be worked out. Or not. Either way, it'll be the politicians' fault. That's for sure.

In short, as a country speeding toward a financial cliff, we are so screwed. Maybe.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Larry Downing / Reuters; Harry Hamburg / Associated Press (Mitch McConnell).

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