Public and pundit reaction to the unveiling of the House Budget Committee Proposal and much of the budget debate so far has focused largely on seniors’ issues and the proposed changes to the Medicare system. This aspect of this proposal is immensely unpopular as a number of public opinion surveys this week and last week attest, including this one. But there is another voice in this budget debate, a voice rarely heard by politicians in Washington, but a voice that finds advocates among average voters: the voice of children.

Proposed cuts to programs affecting kids prove every inch as unpopular as cuts affecting seniors. Indeed, 70 percent oppose the $750 billion cut in Medicaid in the House Budget Committee Proposal. In a battery identifying a series of potential cuts that the Congress may consider in the broader budget debate, voters are more likely to hold harmless programs affecting kids than any other program on the chopping block. 

In no way does this survey suggest voters are willing to trade cuts affecting seniors for cuts affecting children and vice versa. Voters recognize there is another option, specifically on the revenue side, as outlined by the President’s budget speech. By a 62 to 24 percent margin, voters prefer raising taxes on those earning over a million dollars over cutting important programs. By the end of the survey, after voters are made aware of the scale of the cuts currently being considered, 72 percent prefer increasing taxes over cutting programs. 

For additional information, please read the full memo and results or visit First Focus.

Key Findings

  • Voters believe children in this country fare poorly.
  • When provided context, voters oppose the House Budget Committee Proposal.
  • Voters strongly oppose the $750 billion cut in Medicaid funding in the plan.
  • Children’s issues hold up well relative to other potential cuts.
  • There are other choices.


This memorandum summarizes the results of a national survey of 1,024 likely 2012 voters taken April 13-18, 2011. In order to better reflect the changing lifestyle of the voting population, this survey includes a sample of 114 cell phone interviews. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 3.10 points at 95 percent confidence interval.

Sources: Anna Greenberg and David Walker

Client: First Focus