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CNN Poll: You’re feeling the forced spending cuts

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(CNN) — It looks like the effects of the forced spending cuts are starting to kick in with Americans, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday also indicates that the cuts, known inside the Beltway as the sequester, appear to be mostly affecting lower-income Americans.

According to the survey, more than two-thirds of Americans say that the cuts have greatly or somewhat affected the nation’s economy and more than four in ten say that the cuts had greatly or somewhat affected them personally. Both of those numbers are up by seven to eight percentage points since a mid-March poll taken two weeks after the forced spending cuts took effect.

“More than half of Americans who make less than $50,000 a year say that the forced spending cuts have affected their personal finances, compared to only about a third of those with higher incomes,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Rural Americans are also more likely to report that those cuts have affected them personally than people who live in cities and suburbs.”

The $85 billion in cuts for the rest of fiscal year 2013, which ends September 30, were mandated by a 2011 agreement by Congress that raised the federal debt ceiling. In an attempt to motivate legislators to compromise on a deficit-reduction plan, the agreement required $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts over a decade if Congress failed to strike a deal to shrink the deficit by that amount. The cuts targeted agencies and programs dear to Democrats, such as education, and also went after Republican priorities, including the military.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, from April 5-7, with 1,012 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN’s Paul Steinhauser and Tom Cohen contributed to this report

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