Bloomberg by the Numbers: 44%

Photograph by Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

Sailors stand watch on the deck of the USS Harry S. Truman docked at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia, on Feb. 28, 2013.

That’s the share of Americans who responded with a negative word or phrase reacting to $85 billion in automatic budget cuts that began taking effect March 1, according to Gallup.

Another 24 percent responded to the open-ended question with a neutral response and 11 percent gave positive responses, according to the Gallup survey taken Feb. 25-26. Another 17 percent didn’t have an opinion and 5 percent didn’t answer the question.

During the same period, Americans by a 45 percent to 37 percent margin said they wanted their representatives in Congress to vote to avert the budget cuts rather than let them go into effect.

The spending cuts, known as sequestration, will be a “slow grind” on the economy, President Barack Obama said March 1 after meeting with congressional leaders at the White House, as Bloomberg’s Julianna Goldman and Roxana Tiron reported.

The cuts will hurt states led by Virginia, which includes tens of thousands of federal workers and relies on government contracts more than any other state.

“We’re not getting crushed yet, but over the next month with these defense cuts, it’s going to have a pretty significant effect on our economy,” former Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican, said March 1 on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

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