AP Buries Lede In Reporting on Latest Poll: Voters Favor Budget Cuts Over Tax Hikes to Balance Budget

A new Associated Press poll finds movement by crucial swing voters towards Republican-friendly economic priorities: budget cuts over Democrat-preferred tax hikes.

But in reporting on the news wire's poll, the AP's Laurie Kellman opened her story with a focus on numbers that show the  popularity of extending the Social Security payroll tax holiday, a priority of the Obama administration and liberal Democrats:

(WASHINGTON) — Most Americans want Congress to vote to continue the payroll tax reduction, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll that comes as Democrats and Republicans wrestle over whether to extend the cut through 2012.

It's the latest instance in which lawmakers on Capitol Hill have allowed partisan sniping to hold up a measure to put in place a policy that most Americans support, like ending the Bush tax cuts, cap and trade, and a surcharge on millionaires.

It wasn't until the 18th paragraph in the 20-paragraph post that Kellman noted that voters overall and independent voters in particular are moving in a direction that favors budget cuts over tax hikes to balance the budget:

As for how to balance the federal budget, more now favor cutting government services as the best means to bring federal spending into balance. Sixty percent think lawmakers should focus on budget cuts over tax increases. That figure had been as low as 53 percent in August, during the showdown over raising the country's debt limit.

The biggest shift on that question has come from independents. In the August poll, 37 percent said lawmakers should focus on increasing taxes and 42 percent said cutting services. Now, that divide stands at 28 percent for raising taxes and 59 percent for cutting services.

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