WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new poll shows most Americans don't believe Medicare and Social Security have to be cut to balance the federal budget.
The Associated Press-GfK poll shows that arguments for overhauling middle-class benefit programs to pare government debt have failed to sway the public.
In the poll, 54 percent said it's possible to balance the budget without cutting Medicare, and 59 percent said the same about Social Security. Democrats and political independents were far more likely than Republicans to say that neither program will have to be cut.
Overall, 70 percent said Social Security is "extremely" or "very" important to their financial security in retirement, and 72 percent said so for Medicare.
The debate about retirement programs is unlikely to be resolved before next year's elections.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)