On state budgets, lots of agreement in abstract, little on specifics

Here’s some good news for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as he puts the finishing touches on his budget proposal: More than two-thirds of Americans think his approach of combining taxes hikes and spending cuts is the way for states to solve their budget problems, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

Now the bad news: Sizable majorities oppose increasing sales, business or personal income taxes. And equally large numbers are against cuts in major areas of government spending. Even much-maligned public pension programs are a toss-up, with 47 percent for and 47 percent against cutting them.

Interestingly, although more people say the local economy is in bad shape than did eight years ago, perceptions about the state of their state’s budget are largely unchanged: 81 percent now think their state faces budget problems, compared with 82 percent in 2003; 72 percent now think the problems are “very” or “fairly” serious, compared with 71 percent then.

(National telephone survey of 1,385 adults Feb. 2-7; MOE +/- 3.5 percentage points.)