As the fiscal cliff looms, most Americans believe that special education programs should be spared from federal budget cuts, a new poll suggests.

In a survey asking over 1,000 adults from across the country about their views on education funding, some 57 percent said it’s “very important” that Congress protect money for programs serving students with disabilities.

That’s a higher level of support than was expressed for any other education program including prekindergarten, college financial aid and programs helping school districts with large numbers of students living in poverty.

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The poll was conducted online earlier this month on behalf of the Committee for Education Funding and the Foundation for Education Investment. It comes as education programs across the country face the threat of severe cuts in federal funding.

Under a process known as sequestration, most government programs are expected to be slashed by at least 8.2 percent come January unless Congress acts. For special education, the White House estimates that more than $1 billion could be lost under the plan which was triggered after lawmakers failed to reach a budget deal last year.