Public Opinion and the Balanced Budget
While most Americans have long favored a balanced federal budget , not all do. This paper uses cross-sectional differences among respondents to two public opinion polls to try to discriminate among competing hypotheses about why Americans want the budget balanced. Logit models are fit to data from two different public opinion polls : a Gallup poll and a CBS/New York Times poll conducted , respectively, in March and April of 1980, a time when the proposed balanced budget amendment to the Constitution was very much in the news. In each case , a large majority favored a balanced budget requirement. However, they favor it for a smorgasbord of reasons and at unclear price. It appears that political affiliation, ideology and personal circumstances are far less important determinants of the choice than economic rationales.