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What Americans support (and don't support) in cutting the deficit

The entire debt debate has raised this question: What do you do to reduce the nation's deficit?

Republicans want to strictly cut government spending, while preserving all tax cuts and tax breaks. President Obama, by contrast, favors a balanced approach -- some spending cuts, plus revenue increases and tax hikes.

But what about the American public? Back in February, at the very outset of this deficit/debt debate, our NBC/WSJ poll measured 26 different ways to reduce the deficit or to cut spending. The list runs from most acceptable to least acceptable.

-- Placing a surtax on federal income taxes for people earning over $1 million a year: 81% acceptable
-- Eliminating spending on so-called earmarks for special projects and specific areas of the country: 78% acceptable
-- Eliminating funding for weapons systems the Defense Department says are not necessary: 76% acceptable
-- Eliminating tax credits for the oil and gas industries: 74% acceptable
-- Phasing out the Bush tax cuts for families earning $250,000 or more per year: 68% acceptable
-- Freezing annual domestic spending at its current level for the next five years: 67% acceptable
-- Reducing Medicare and Social Security benefits for wealthier retirees: 62% acceptable
-- Gradually raising the Social Security retirement age to 69 by 2075: 56% acceptable
-- Cutting funding for the new health-care law so that parts of it will not be put into effect or enforced: 51% acceptable
-- Reducing agriculture subsidies or support to farmers and ranchers: 45% acceptable
-- Eliminating funding to Planned Parenthood for family planning and preventive health services: 45% acceptable
-- Gradually turning Medicare from a system in which the government pays for most beneficiaries' medical bills into a program in which seniors would receive government-assisted vouchers to purchase private insurance: 44% acceptable

Among the budget cuts:

Subsidies to build new nuclear power plants: 57% acceptable
Federal assistance to state governments: 52% acceptable
The Environmental Protection Agency: 51%
Transportation and infrastructure projects: 51%
Scientific and medical research: 48%
National defense: 46%
Unemployment insurance: 43%
Head Start: 41%
College student loans: 39%
Heating assistance to low-income families: 34%
Medicaid: 32%
Medicare: 23%
K-12 education: 22%
Social Security: 22%