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Poll: Americans Want Deficit Reduced

A majority of Americans believe that the federal government should focus on reducing the budget deficit rather than spending to stimulate the economy, a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds.

Asked whether the government should focus on deficit reduction or stimulus spending, 58 percent of those surveyed cited deficit reduction. Thirty-five percent, meanwhile, said the government should spend more to stimulate the economy.

Republicans and independents were more likely than Democrats to favor deficit reduction. Seventy-nine percent of Republicans and 59 percent of independents preferred that the government focus on reducing the deficit, while nearly half of Democrats cited a preference for more stimulus spending.

While Americans overall favor deficit reduction, however, a majority are not willing to pay more in taxes or give up services in areas such as health care, education, and defense spending to do so.

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Only 31 percent said they supported a cut in services to lower the deficit, while 53 percent opposed it. And while 41 percent said they would be willing to pay higher taxes to reduce the deficit, 56 percent said they would not.

CBS News will release the full poll, which covers perceptions of the president, the economy, health care and the police, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

More from the CBS News poll released Wednesday:

Poll: Obama Not Blamed For Economy

Poll: Public Conflicted Over Health Reform

Poll: Many Blacks Say Police Treat Them Unfairly

Poll: Americans Want Deficit Reduced

Video: Polling Director Sarah Dutton Discusses the Poll

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1050 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone July 24-28, 2009. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.