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A majority of Americans prefer cutting the deficit to increasing government spending as a way to improve the tough economy and believe a more balanced budget would help create jobs, a Reuters Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.

The poll results could bolster Republican calls for spending cuts and put pressure on President Barack Obama and Democrats to work with Republicans to reduce the $1.47 trillion deficit after the November 2 congressional elections.

Obama’s public approval rating edged up to 47 percent, compared to 45 percent in an August poll, while 50 percent disapproved of his job performance, down from 52 percent last month, the poll found.

With economic worries dominating the run-up to the elections, 57 percent of Americans want the U.S. government to cut the deficit in hard economic times while 39 percent support deficit spending to stimulate the economy.

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Three quarters of Americans believe persistently high unemployment is a sign that something in the economy is broken, the poll found, and only 22 percent thought it was part of the natural economic cycle.

“The message from Obama and Democrats on job growth and government spending is not resonating with Americans,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark. “The economy is the number one issue, and more people are in line with Republican rhetoric on this than with the Democrats.”

The poll showed national support for Democrats and Republicans essentially tied six weeks before the election.

The number of people who believe the country is on the wrong track dipped 1 percentage point to 61 percent.

Support for Obama and his fellow Democrats has been hurt by high unemployment, which stood at 9.6 percent last month, and by their support for an economic stimulus package and other costly measures that have not eased joblessness as they promised.

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