Public Now Divided on Debt Limit Debate

Jul 11, 2011

As the debate over the nation’s debt and deficit continues, the public has grown more concerned that failing to raise the debt limit would force the government into default and hurt the economy. Despite this change, however, about as many Americans are concerned by the consequences of raising the nation’s debt limit as by the fallout from not doing so.

Currently, 47% say their greater concern is that raising the debt limit would lead to higher government spending and make the national debt bigger, while 42% say their greater concern is that not raising the limit would force the government into default and hurt the economy. This represents a change in the balance of opinion since May, when more expressed concern over raising the debt limit (48%) than said their greater concern was the prospect of a government default (35%).

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post, conducted July 7-10 among 1,007 adults, finds that independents are now evenly divided in concerns over the debt limit: 46% say their greater concern is that raising the limit would lead to higher government spending while 45% say their bigger concern is that not raising the limit will lead to a default. Two months ago, independents by 49% to 34% expressed more concern over raising the debt limit.

Read the full report, Public Now Divided on Debt Limit Debate, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site. 

For a summary of recent Pew Research Center surveys on the debt limit, read The Debt Ceiling Showdown – Where the Public Stands.

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