That’s the percentage of voters who say the federal budget deficit will be a “very important” issue in their vote this November, according to a survey taken April 4-15 by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. That’s up from 69 percent in 2010 and 2008 and 55 percent in 2004.
The increase owes in large part to Republican voters. According to the survey, 86 percent of Republicans said the deficit is very important to their vote, up from 61 percent in 2008 and 36 percent in 2004, when Republican President George W. Bush was re-elected and Republicans expanded their majorities in Congress.
Among other voters, 63 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of independents said the deficit is very important to their vote.
Those who rank the deficit as a top priority back Republican front-runner Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama by 19 percentage points, 57 percent to 38 percent. Obama leads Romney by 49 percent to 45 percent overall, the survey said.
The federal government ran a $1.3 trillion deficit in fiscal year 2011.