Recent national polling indicates a shifting tide in public opinion surrounding the U.S. federal government’s debt ceiling crisis, with more Americans placing blame on Joe Biden and his administration than congressional Republicans if a default should occur. This finding reveals a significant departure from public sentiment during the 2011 debt-ceiling standoff.
According to the Fox News poll, 47% of respondents said they would hold President Biden accountable for a debt default. In comparison, 44% said they would lay the blame at the feet of congressional Republicans. A similar poll conducted in 2011 during the Obama administration painted a different picture, with 47% blaming Republicans and only 32% attributing the responsibility to then-president Obama.
Fox News Poll: Majority says only increase debt ceiling with spending cuts https://t.co/0eanfvXJyl
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This shift in public sentiment comes as the United States faces a potential default on its debt, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warning that the government will run out of money by June 5 if Congress disagrees on raising the limit. As the deadline draws near, Biden’s leadership during the debt ceiling negotiations has been called into question, even from within his party.
Despite the looming threat, the Fox News poll revealed a stark difference in perception from 2011 regarding the potential consequences of a debt default. Today, 63% of Americans believe that a credit default would spell catastrophe for the U.S., a stark contrast to the 39% who held this belief in 2011.
Interestingly, the shift in public opinion appears to cut across party lines, with significant increases in concern from Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike. Currently, 74% of Democrats, 53% of Republicans, and 57% of independents consider a debt default disastrous. This broad-based consensus underscores a growing recognition of the gravity of the nation’s fiscal position.
Still, most voters (57%) contend that any increase in the debt ceiling should come with spending cuts, a conservative stance traditionally associated with the Republican party. This demand for fiscal restraint extends beyond Republicans (72%) to include a majority of independents (57%). On the Democratic side, there is less agreement, with 47% advocating for an increase without additional cuts and 42% calling for cuts alongside the rise.
The debt ceiling crisis is gaining traction as a concern among the American public. While political divisions remain a primary concern for 79% of the electorate, worry about the debt limit debate has risen from 68% in January to 75%.
As negotiations continued, Biden failed to distance himself from potential blame. When asked at the G7 Summit in Japan if he would be “blameless in a default situation,” Biden responded: “On the merits based on what I’ve offered, I would be blameless. On the politics, no one would be blameless.”
Regardless of Biden’s assertion, the poll indicates that if a default occurs, Americans are more inclined to hold Biden accountable over Republicans in Congress. Moreover, this inclination holds true across partisan lines, with three-quarters of Republicans, half of independents, and nearly 1 in 5 Democrats prepared to place blame on the President.
As the debt ceiling debate intensifies, it is clear that the American people are paying attention, growing increasingly concerned, and assigning blame where they believe it is due.