Poll: Worries over government default on the rise
July 11th, 2011
05:16 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Worries over government default on the rise

Washington (CNN) - As the partisan battle over raising the nation's debt ceiling rages on, a new national poll indicates Americans are becoming more concerned that failing to raise the debt limit would force the government into default and damage the economy.

According to a Pew Research Center survey released Monday, 42 percent of people questioned say that worries about a government default outweigh concerns that raising the debt ceiling would lead to higher spending and make the national debt larger. That's up seven points from May.

But 47 percent say that concerns over inflated spending and a larger national debt are more important than worries about a government default, basically unchanged from two months ago.

The poll indicates a partisan divide, with two-thirds of Republicans questioned saying fears of greater government spending and a larger debt is their top concern. By a 54 to 35 percent margin, Democrats say worries of a government default outweighs worries of a larger debt. According to the poll, independent voters are divided on the issue.

Fifty-five percent of people questioned say they have a very or fairly good understand of what would happen if the federal government does not raise the debt ceiling, up five points from May.

The poll's release comes after meetings at the White House Monday between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders did not yield a breakthrough. Top Democrats and Republicans in Congress agreed to meet again Tuesday to try to resolve the crisis.

The Pew Research Center poll was conducted July 7 through July 10, with 1,007 national adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • Polls
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    WRONG - every 24/7 news channel and "yellow tabloid" tells us we need to worry. This is getting old.

    I'll bet you all would LOVE to cover CIVIL WAR II. Wouldn't that just generate a ton of advertising revenue for your bosses?

    July 11, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. Tim

    I think what you meant to say that is 58% of American's realize we have to take the credit card away from the liberals. Yes it could be painful, but it's the only responsible thing to do.

    July 11, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. Nunya

    Wow, there is direct testament to the abysmal state of economic knowledge in the American populace. More of them think that inflated spending is worse than an immediate default. Handwriting on the wall people... with this sort of prevailing attitude, default is coming sooner or later...

    July 11, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Send Sarah and Bristol Palin in to the rescue, neither have submitted any idea of how they would fix the economy, jobs or deficit but say "I can win" . She sunk John McCain and now she wants to sink the entire Republican party, what an idiot.

    July 11, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. WireweirdinSf

    Obamas supporters, the druggies and corrupt union bosses need more of our money. The obozo "deficit reduction" plan is just a ruse to steal more money for the libertards to steal more money for big labor and dope addicts, the obaama supporters.

    July 11, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. grrace

    If the GOP tank our economy again, by REFUSING to pay the bills THEY ran up, our country is going to be in a world of hurt. Who in their right mind believes we could be in TWO wars, and not require a Debt Ceiling increase?

    July 11, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    The first EVER wars (2 of them) with no war tax - in fact, the shrub cut taxes for his buddies (so no-bid contracts wouldn't be hit so hard).

    July 11, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. Mary Ann

    grrace,I agree with you 100%

    July 11, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  9. seriously???

    So fifty-five percent of people questioned say they want to destroy America's reign as a superpower for good. Republicans for the dissolution of the Republic. What a bunch of patriots.

    July 11, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  10. The Elephant in The Room

    The US Government can`t have someone else with "Good Credit" co-sign for it.

    I`m willing to bet the 20% of the GOP that has a favorable view of Sarah Palin does not realize this.

    July 11, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. dave

    What most fail to realize is that raising the debt ceiling only cover loans we have already committed to. It does not increase spending. It only keeps our credit rating decent. It has already been lowered. Are we a deadbeat country? Seems a lot of politicians are ready to throw the whole world under the financial bus in order to keep Obama a one term president. That borders on treason. It is sheer stupidity to tie the debt ceiling to government spending. I agree we must get spending under control. But not on the backs of the middle class, and not at the expense of our financial future. How about Congress take a paycut of 50% until the debt is paid, the budget is balanced, and they can prove that the people and not politics is their priority. When McConnell said his primary goal was making Obama a one term president, he told the entire country that he not interested in you or me, but power. Is that why you sent him to the Senate, Kentucky?

    July 11, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  12. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on America

    Most Americans are concerned that the GOBPbaggers don't care about average workers and the poor and middle class. The debt ceiling battle is simply more proof of what is becoming more and more obvious each day. The Greedy Old Pigs serve only the filthy rich, who are never asked to make sacrifices for the betterment of our country. The teatards on the extreme right are showing just how un-American they are.

    July 11, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  13. GOP has a tea problem, not a party?

    Where is business outrage over the debt ceiling deal? Big business wants this economy to tank more to buy out the competition. America will no longer be a world leader if the debt ceiling fails. Who would want to follow a dead beat. The Republican raise the debt ceiling 7 times under The Bush Admin. The Republican will go down in history as the party that tank the world.

    July 11, 2011 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. CaliforniaBC

    Raising the debt ceiling is NOT about allowing more spending. It is about covering the bills that have accumulated over the last few years and covering the losses in revenue from the recession. That's something else people can't seem to comprehend is that a good chunk of the debt is due to lost revenue from 6 million + jobs lost not entirely from spending. Plus, the spending under Obama was to fix things while the spending under GW went mostly to the rich (through tax cuts/outsourcing jobs) and paying for two foreign wars which include a TON of reconstruction related costs. So Bush spent more money in other countries rather than spending it domestically to help maintain things here.

    July 11, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. T

    There doesn't seem to be a problem with Republicans spending like drunken sailors onshore when in charge(2000-2006).. Yet when out of charge, all of the sudden we are spending too much. Especially since we have a Black President. The attacks on Clinton were bad, but they are really bad now. Traitors just for Politcal gain, it will backfire-see Gingrech 95

    July 11, 2011 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  16. X

    It is amusing watching republicans bellyache about deficits when they inherited record surpluses from Clinton and turned them into a multi-trillion debt and plunged us into the Bush Depression. The GOP demanded and got an extention of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy that added $800 billion with the argument they would create jobs. So, where are the jobs???????????

    July 11, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |