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Poll: Obama, Congress will blow new taxes, not cut deficit

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Americans have a pretty good idea of what President Obama and Congress will do if they raise taxes as expected: It will be blown on expanding the government, not cutting the deficit as Washington is promising.

A new Rasmussen Reports poll finds that 48 percent of likely voters believe that new taxes are likely to be used for new government programs. Some 38 have faith that the president and Congress will keep their word and cut spending and deficits and 14 percent are not sure.

The fight over preventing the so-called "fiscal cliff" are hung up on taxes, with most Republicans urging leaders to block them or at least win Democratic concessions on reforming Social Security and Medicare in return.

According to the pollster, "Democrats, who typically display more faith than others in politics and government, are the most optimistic. Fifty-four percent of the voters in President Obama's party believe new tax monies will go to deficit reduction. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans think the money will be used for new programs instead."

Voters' feeling that the president and Congress are hiding their real plans is borne out in other questions in Rasmussen's poll, which is also a stark reminder of how divided the nation is.

For example, just 34 percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of the federal government, while 63 percent view it unfavorably.

And when party affiliation is included, Rasmussen found that only Democrats favor big government. Some 59 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of the federal government while a whopping 86 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of unaffiliated voters share an unfavorable opinion of the national government.