Washington (CNN) - Tax increases are one of the biggest sticking points in contentious negotiations to try and raise the nation's debt ceiling. But do Americans agree with the position of congressional Republicans that any deal should not include tax increases? Two new polls are gauging Americans' opinions.
A Quinnipiac University survey indicates that two-thirds of the public say an agreement to raise the debt limit should include tax hikes for wealthy Americans and corporations, not just spending cuts.
The poll's Thursday release comes as the president and top congressional leaders from both parties get ready to meet at the White House for a fifth straight day to try and head off a possible federal government default. Administration officials have warned that a failure to raise the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2 could trigger a partial government default. If Washington lacks the money to pay its bills, interest rates could skyrocket and the value of the dollar could decline, among other things.
Opposition by GOP lawmakers to tax increases is a contributing factor for the lack of agreement. But the poll indicates that 67 percent of voters questioned say that an any agreement to raise the debt ceiling should include tax hikes for the wealthy and corporations as well as cuts in spending.
As expected, there's a partisan divide on that question, with Democrats by an 87 to 7 percent margin and independents by at 66 to 26 percent margin saying that tax increases for the wealthy and corporations should be included. But by 48 to 43 percent plurality, Republicans disagree that taxes should be included.
A Gallup poll released Wednesday asks the question in a different way. According to the Gallup survey, 50 percent of Americans say an agreement on raising the debt ceiling should be done only or mostly with spending cuts, with 32 percent saying the agreement should equally include spending cuts and tax increases, and 11 percent saying the agreement should be completed only or mostly with tax increases. The poll indicates a partisan divide, with 67 percent of Republicans, but only one third of Democrats, saying the deal should include only or mostly spending cuts.
The Quinnipiac survey indicates that more Americans would blame congressional Republicans rather than the Obama administration if the nation's debt ceiling is not raised. According to the poll, almost half of voters say congressional Republicans would be mainly responsible if there's no agreement, with 34 percent saying the Obama administration would be most at blame. By at 49 to 33 percent margin, independent voters would blame the GOP more than the administration.
As for an agreement, both polls suggest Americans aren't sold yet on the need to raise the debt ceiling. According to Gallup numbers released Tuesday, 42 percent say want their member of Congress to vote against raising the level, with 22 percent saying they want their lawmaker to voter in favor of lifting the ceiling and 35 percent not sure.
The Quinnipiac survey indicates that Americans are split, with 45 percent saying that not raising the debt limit would force the government into default and hurt the nation's economy, and 43 percent saying that lifting the ceiling would lead to higher government spending and make the national debt larger.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted July 5-11, with 2,311 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus two percentage points.
The Gallup poll was conducted July 7-10, with 1,016 national adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.