Polls: Should any debt ceiling agreement include tax increases?
Billboard featuring U.S. debt clock on July 11, 2011.
July 14th, 2011
10:10 AM ET
11 years ago

Polls: Should any debt ceiling agreement include tax increases?

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.


Filed under: Debt • Deficit • Polls • Taxes
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Jess C.

    Absolutely....it can't all happen with cuts alone!

    July 14, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. Natalie in MN

    And the GOP wants us to believe "Americans" don't want tax increases. Where do they get their info? Oh, yes, from their wealthy cronies and corporations that are swimming in record profits this past year. Have we seen enough?

    July 14, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. Marie MD

    YES!!!!!! TAX THE RICH!!!!!! They have not paid their fair share for years nor have they created any jobs!!!
    Warren Buffet agrees and he is a billionaire!!!!!

    July 14, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. ConservaFASCISTS/Domestic Terrorists/Taliban/Al Queda/TRAITORS

    YES YES YES!!!!! What part of SHARED SACRIFICE don't those fascists understand. 80% of republicans believe there should be cuts, but they also think that along with cuts should come tax increases. What's so fricking hard for Cantor and the other fascists on the Hill to get that thru their skulls?!?!?

    July 14, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    Time to do something bold. Generate revenue by reforming personal and corporate tax laws and entitlement programs. Cut military spending. Only in my dreams.

    July 14, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    I cannot help but wonder how informed were the people who were polled. I know if someone called me out of the blue and asked, "Should US raise the debt ceiling?", they would get an almost automatic "No!", if I didn't understand the question.

    July 14, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. joe the plumber

    American people have spoken,Gop should listen to voters and do the right thing,cut spending,raise taxs on wealthy Americans and corporations, not just spending cuts,eric cantor keep dreaming there.

    July 14, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. just checking

    absolutely, the top 2%along with major oill co.,big corporations, close all loop holes and stop subsidies to the ones who are making record profits....This should not affect small business...

    July 14, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  9. oregonian101

    Yes, tax increases should be included on both the wealthy and middle class. However, before the middle class carries yet even more of the burden, the tax loop holes need to be cleaned up so Warren Buffet isn't paying 5% less than I am.

    July 14, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. PT Barnum

    As a wealthy american worth more than $11 million, I am thoroughly enjoying how republicans are crushing the middle class and putting the entire country at risk so I can pinch out a few thousand more.

    The middle class cleans my house, cuts my girlfriends' hair, fights my wars, safeguards my money, patrols my gated community, and shines my shoes.

    Long live republicans!!

    July 14, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  11. manngrey

    The debt ceiling should be considered all by itself and not with any other legislation. It should be an entity unto itself. For any party to use it as a tool to gain a political advantage is downright unamerican. Republicans have bowed to Grover Norquist and his conservative organization. No elected representative of the people should be signing ANY pledge to any group. They are elected to serve all the people of the United States, not just some minority group. The only pledge they should have allegiance to is the oath they took when they were sworn into office. Pass the debt ceiling by itself like it has been done forever and take it out of the "deals." Stop playing "Russian Roulette" with the United States economy.

    July 14, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Sank

    No. No debt increase on just the rich. The others must pay their part if there are increases. This is America not some heathern state in Africa. Wake up and play ball fairly. Cut the free loaders off at the knees or no deal. DO NOT RAISE THE DEBT CEILING ANYMORE EVER. Palin 2012.

    July 14, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. Eye of Newt

    Finally, something substantial with which to crush the republican party!!

    July 14, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. Name emil

    Take the poll after 80 million americans lose social security and veterens benefits. I think the wealthiest americans would gladly pay a little more in taxes than face living in a country with rioting in the streets. Which is what will happen if the checks stop coming. Not to mention the economic damage of so many broke ass people at once flooding the homeless shelters across this once great country.

    July 14, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. harold vines

    I would like the poll to include a question as to whether the person has a 401K or a form of investment for retirement; those without any skin in the game can say, don't raise the debt celing, it won't affect them; if you have investments you have to be an idiot to want to take a chance to see what would happen if limit not raise;
    yes we need to stop spending; but if you are looking at losing your house and good credit and can get a stop gap loan, a person does it; them they start to pay off debt and cut spending; losing your credit rating makes it harder; it is simple math;

    July 14, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  16. Irma in North Carolina

    I hope the american people can see what the republicans are trying to do by not puting a higher tax on their rich buddies and thinking this will make the president loose an election. Lets hope the guy above lets this backfire on the republicans.

    July 14, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  17. Midwest Dude

    R's do not care about real polls and what americans really think. They only care about what they thiink americans think and want. I'm not surprised by this poll and discussions I've had with all types of individuals.

    July 14, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  18. ALindor

    Hey, before you start blaming this party or that...don't you think

    If your debt is more than you make...you don't just cut spending... you get another job as well (income).

    While cuting spending will help pay your debt. But you'll die, because you won't be able to feed yourself.

    That's why you get the second job.


    July 14, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  19. Henry Miller

    "...two-thirds of the public say an agreement to raise the debt limit should include tax hikes for wealthy Americans and corporations..."

    So two-thirds of the public are in favour of taxing anyone other than themselves. What's wrong with this picture?

    July 14, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. Orchid333

    Hey Republican "leaders" – listen to your base! We WANT you to raise taxes on the wealthy and get our economy back on track. I think it's so rediculous that freshman Republicans were REQUIRED to sign a pledge against tax increases and other policies that may not be the best for our country but best for their political base, in order to have the support of the GOP. That would be like me signing a pledge that I'll never, EVER, eat bananas again in my life, in any form, or it would mean I have to pay a penalty. A little dumb? Yeah, I think so too. Raise taxes on the wealthy and quick playing around with our livelihoods.

    July 14, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. larry

    It is really not surprising that the majority would vote for tax increase as long as it doesn't affect them!!! If they increase the tax on the wealthy and corporations (the job creators) , watch what happens to the unemployment rate then!!!

    July 14, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  22. Bill from GA

    Americans have been saying that we need a tax hike since at least last fall, in order to get our finances more in order. but the politicians have been afraid to do it, or just plain lying about "what the American people want"

    Americans also want some effort made to increase jobs, but politicians ignore us. mitch mcconnell is particularly good about saying; "the American people want" followed by whatever action he (mcconnell) is currently pushing, or, likely, the opposite of whatever our President wants and what the country truly needs..

    July 14, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  23. Peter s

    "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." Its inevitable, taxes have to be raised but the problem is Republican ran on tax cuts last midterm. They boxed themselves like a condom from the gas station!

    July 14, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  24. Sandy

    Looks to me like a lot of people don't understand that the debt ceiling is about debt already incurred, not more spending.

    July 14, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  25. maikl

    Everybody hates rich, but everybody try to be.Until somebody poor,they try to take from rich they money,but when star to be rich they change they approach.

    July 14, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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