In terms of budget tradeoffs, most Americans (59%) say they would place a higher priority on spending more money to make health care more accessible and affordable than on reducing the budget deficit. A nearly identical majority (58%) believes that spending more to improve education ranks as a higher priority than reducing the deficit. However, opinion is more evenly divided over whether increasing funding to develop new energy technology should trump deficit reduction: About half (49%) say that spending on new energy technology is the higher priority while nearly as many say reducing the budget deficit (45%) is the higher priority. On all three issues, most Democrats favor spending increases while most Republicans favor deficit reduction. The biggest partisan gap over budget priorities is with respect to health care. Nearly eight-in-ten Democrats (78%) see increased spending to make health care more accessible and affordable as a higher priority than deficit reduction, compared with 57% of independents and 36% of Republicans. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.