The Coalition is honing its economic pitch for the election on reducing national debt by curtailing public spending -- and it seems that many voters agree.

A new poll by Essential Research, released today, paints a picture of a parsimonious public concerned about debt and keen to see government funding slashed for foreign aid, the arts, welfare and private schools. The poll has been taken in the wake of a series of worsening budget deficits and downgrades of government revenue projections.