Although concern over the federal budget deficit is rising, most Americans say preserving Social Security and Medicare benefits is more important than cutting the deficit, according to a new Pew Research Center Survey. Support for the entitlement programs is down from past years, but still strong at 60 percent versus 32 percent who say budget cutting should be the top priority.

Backing for Social Security and Medicare benefits is solid across most political and economic groups, with two exceptions: 63 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents with family incomes over $75,000 say cutting the deficit should be a priority, as do 57 percent of those who say they agree with the Tea Party.

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