Sunday, 01 Oct 2023

CNN Poll: 60% say debt ceiling increase should come with spending cuts

CNN Poll: 60% say debt ceiling increase should come with spending cuts

Sixty percent of Americans say Congress should only raise the nation's debt ceiling if it cuts spending at the same time, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS, as the government's June 1 "hard deadline" to avoid economic catastrophe looms large over Washington. Few see President Joe Biden or the Republicans in Congress as acting responsibly in negotiations over the debt limit, with most in both parties more concerned that their side will give up too much than that the United States will default on its debt.

Still, a broad majority of Americans favor raising the debt ceiling (84%), with just 15% saying Congress should not do so under any circumstances. Besides the 60% who support raising the ceiling alongside spending cuts, 24% say it should happen no matter what.

These findings come amid widespread doubts about the nation's political leaders more broadly. Few Americans say that Biden (31%) or the Republican leaders in the House of Representatives (29%) have the right priorities. Among independents, 60% say that neither Biden nor GOP leaders are paying enough attention to the country's most pressing problems.

Though 71% of all Americans say that not raising the debt limit would cause a crisis or major problems for the country - and many foresee a major negative impact on the stock market (60%), the nation's credit rating (59%) and the overall economy (58%) - relatively few see a deeply negative impact on their own finances as a likely outcome (35%). Less than half say that failure to raise the debt ceiling would cause a major negative impact on the unemployment rate (43%).

About half of Americans say they have been following the negotiations over the debt limit very (14%) or somewhat closely (36%), below the 70% who said they were following very or somewhat closely in 2011, when President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress were negotiating a debt ceiling increase.

Majority support for raising the debt ceiling in some fashion cuts across party lines, but most Republicans (79%) and independents (58%) say the limit should only be raised if spending cuts are enacted at the same time, while Democrats are split between supporting a debt ceiling increase no matter what (46%) and raising it only alongside spending cuts (45%).

Democrats who say they are very or somewhat closely following the negotiations are most likely to say that Congress should raise the debt ceiling no matter what (64%), but that drops to 29% among Democrats following less closely. Among independents and Republicans, the gap between those following closely and those less tuned in is far smaller (27% of more tuned-in independents say it should be raised no matter what compared with 18% among those following less closely; for Republicans, those figures are 7% and 5%, respectively).

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