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. Tulsa

    Once again, the Republican party ignores the will of the People at their own peril.

    July 14, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. realist

    What a Dumb Question???" These Right Wing Elitist must include Loopholes and the "Rich" Tax them! Crazy people???? Your "Trickle Down Effect, has trickled to the sewer! Get it!! Gop Robbers of the poor!

    July 14, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Yes.......but with a caveat. The tax increases may NOT be used for increased spending.......only for deficit reduction.

    July 14, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  4. vet in texas

    Taxes for the top 2% of the country need to be raised 3.9% to pay for the 6 trillion incurred from 2000-2006 for the following:
    unfunded war in Iraq
    unfunded war in Afghanistan
    unfunded medicare part D
    unfunded tax cuts from 2001-2010.

    Let the spending cuts pay for Obama's 3 trillion, and the tax increase for W's 6 trillion.

    July 14, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  5. John, PA

    Let’s include one specific Tax Increase.
    If you are a registered Democrat or vote Democratic you pay an additional 15%.
    This will get the 51% that pay no taxes to have some skin in the game and share the scarifice.

    July 14, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. terry,va

    It is easy for people to say "raise taxes on the rich" when 47% of the country pays NO TAXES at all. This is obsene. These people get to drive on the same roads, have the same police and fire protection, have the same civil liberities and national security that I do. I say everone should pay taxes. Close all the loop holes and deductions and have a flat rate for ALL tax brackets. If you don't contribute then you shouldn't have a say in any issue in this country including voting.

    July 14, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. gt

    yes or close loop holes in the tax code...

    July 14, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  8. TVH

    I wonder how many Americans would agree to have their taxes increase as part of the plan. It is very easy committing other people's money.

    July 14, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. Fair is Fair

    Well, natch... if you rob Peter to pay Paul, you'll always have Paul agreeing with you.


    July 14, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. al in memphis

    It's really not that hard to fix this. More money is needed, less spending is needed until you get a surplus.
    The problem is that everybody wants the benefit of the USA economy and free markets, but no one wants to pay a fair share to maintain the golden goose.

    July 14, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. Thom

    In a short answer, yes. Why aren't you explaining that this "tax Hike" is really having huge corporations and others who get huge tax breaks because of their wealth pay their fair share of taxes so that the burden won't be on the middle class.
    In layman's terms, Cantor, McConnell, and Boehnerr wants to take away grandma's medicare and the social security
    benefits that Americans have paid into just so that big businesses won't have to pay their fair share of taxes.

    The republicans know they don't have a chance at beating Barack Obama in 2011(he's broken his own record at fundraising already) thus they figure they can destroy this country in the meantime, and blame the President. They don't
    care about Americans. Woe on America if they are allowed to carry out thiis evil. Evil indeed, they are.

    July 14, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. Poser

    Of course we should raise taxes. Taxes as a percentage of GDP are at their lowest point in over 40 years. Taxes should be raised on the rich and corporations now because they have reaped nearly all the benefits of the great tax experiment of the last decade and they can afford a small increase. As the economy improves, taxes should be raised for everyone back to what they were during the Clinton administration. Cuts are obviously necessary too.

    Anyone who says raising taxes on the rich will kill jobs is putting ideology above facts. Taxes were lowered a little for the middle class and a lot for the rich. Within ten years (2008, before Obama was POTUS), the economy was in free fall. The 'job creators' did not create jobs here in the US. The wealth trickled up. The policy is a gigantic failure.

    Do the math!!!! We cannot fix our budget by cuts alone.

    July 14, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. John

    You Republican should try reading this you may learn something. But I don't think so because lately you Republican are showing you are making some pretty bad move.

    July 14, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. Bessy

    Yes, an agreement should include tax increases for the wealthiest in the country. President Obama and the Democrats had better not " cave " on this one. The Republicans will sell the country to the devil rather than raise taxes.

    July 14, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. Joan

    So why do the Republican leaders, especially Cantor, keep saying that a majority of Americans don't want tax increases on the wealthiest and big companies such as the oil industry and that costly loopholes shouldn't be plugged? It seems that it is really just a majority of REPUBLICAN AMERICANS who feel that way. They were elected to do what is best for all Americans, not just their base. This is going to come back and bite the Republicans in a big way if they keep this greedy, stubborn, uncompromising attitude and it causes big problems for the US economy.

    July 14, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  16. Adam

    You cant spend money if you arent making money, and the only way the Government makes money is by Taxation.

    July 14, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  17. New Age Independent

    Some taxes might be acceptable, however with the current out of control spending many other cuts need to occur first.

    Do the Math!!! We cannot control our budget with continued wasteful spending.

    July 14, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. Nitty

    This is what you call a loaded poll question! Let's look at the facts. 1: The debt ceiling needs to be raised. 2. The Republicans said we won't vote to raise the debt ceiling unless federal spending is cut and the deficit is reduced. 3: The Democrats said that the Republicans were holding the debt ceiling hostage over spending cuts, however if we need to reduce the deficit raising taxes on the wealthy, closing tax loopholes and cuts to medicare and medicaid would be on the table. 4: The Republicans said NO!! Thats raising taxes! No deal!! 5: Never once did any Democrat say that raising taxes had to happen to raise the debt ceiling!! Loaded fake poll question! WAKE UP AMERICA!!! STOP BEING DUPES TO POLLS AND MEDIA IN GENERAL!! DO YOUR OWN REASERCH!

    July 14, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Don

    Quite simply, America's Billionnaires (over 500) and Millionnaires (over 6,000,000) must begin to pay their fair share. They benefit the most from our nation's domestic and foreign strength, yet they pay income tax at the lowest level in a century. They are the only Americans who have any money to give to our nation's common debt.

    July 14, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. kyle

    Millions of jobs were lost during the Bush tax cuts, so end then now, GREED does not create jobs.

    July 14, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. Retired Army in San Antonio

    51% of American households don't pay taxes?

    OK.....so how many of THEM are Social Security recipients......or a unemployed?

    Yep! Gotta make them pay 😉 ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    July 14, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Republicans - The "Not Intended To Be Factually Accurate" Party

    We don't need a poll to tell us that this is the proper thing to do.

    In the "spin game" Obama Opponents call this "RAISING TAXES". It is not and I call on all journalists to STOP adopting the GOP's talking points. Raising Taxes would be if the Tax RATES were increased.

    GENERATING REVENUE is the agnostic term and the PRESS needs to start using it and force the low-information voter to think through the source of that revenue.

    Even when the Bush Tax cuts expire, that will not be "RAISING TAXES", they will simply be RESTORED to what they were under Clinton. Bush tried to svengali / bamboozle us with "temporary" tax cuts. The Democrats and the Press are FOOLS if they let time erode that fact. After scams behind WMD and "tax cuts for, ahem, 'job-creators'" both should be forever on guard against GOP lies & misrepresentations.

    With the Clinton-era tax rates [only 3% points higher than today] the US ran RECORD Budget SURPLUSES in '98, '99, '00 of $88B, $122B, and $230B. If we had continued that trend through Bush's term [or if Gore had won], the United States would likely be debt free by now.

    July 14, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  23. Veritas

    The wealthy need to pay now since theyve capitalized from rethuglicon rules for far too long. The rich need to do whats right not just keep taking! Why is this no brainer so illusive to the thugs? Its so obvious it hurts!

    July 14, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  24. FM

    The time has come to those who are greedy to let what they have go. If grandmma sacrifices her medicare (which means her life), what about those who value money than anything else! Time has changed and we should change with it!

    July 14, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. Peter s

    Tax murdoch heavily for hacking !!

    July 14, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
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