Poll: Debt ceiling blame game
July 18th, 2011
10:18 AM ET
11 years ago

Poll: Debt ceiling blame game

Washington (CNN) - A plurality of Americans disapprove of how President Barack Obama is handling debt ceiling negotiations, but Congress fares much worse, according to a new national survey.

A CBS News Poll released Monday morning indicates that 48 percent of the public gives the president a thumbs down on how he's handling talks with federal lawmakers on raising the nation's debt limit, with 43 percent saying they approve of how Obama's handling negotiations.

But only 31 percent of people questioned say they approve of how Democrats in Congress are dealing with the talks, with 58 percent saying they disapprove. And by a 71 to 21 percent margin, the public disapproves of how Republicans in Congress are handling the negotiations.

According to a release from CBS News, 51 percent of Republicans give a thumbs down to how members of their own party are handling the talks, with far fewer Democrats questioned disapproving of how congressional Democrats (32 percent) or Obama (22 percent) are dealing with the negotiations.

The poll's release comes as the president and congressional leaders continue to try and find common ground on any deal to raise the debt ceiling. While discussions continued over the weekend after the last full negotiating session Thursday, no significant progress has occurred and the chances for a comprehensive deficit deal sought by Obama in coming weeks appear remote.

Without a major deal, Congress would have to focus instead on a smaller agreement to raise the debt ceiling or face the unprecedented situation in 16 days of the government not having enough money to pay all its bills. The debt ceiling has reached its $14.3 trillion legally permitted maximum.

The Obama administration has warned that not raising the debt ceiling could have dangerous consequences for the economy and that the government might not be able to make Social Security payments to Americans. The survey indicates that some are skeptical, with 36 percent saying the White House is making things sound worse than they would be if the debt ceiling is not raised. But four in ten say the administration is accurately describing the impact of not raising the debt ceiling, with 14 percent saying the White House is making things sound better than they would be. There's an expected partisan divide, with independent voters divided on the question.

According to the survey, two-thirds of Americans think there probably will be an agreement on the debt ceiling before the August 2 deadline.

The CBS News Poll was conducted July 15-17, with 810 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN

Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • Polls
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    "Attention Republicans: The American Economy would COLLAPSE if all G'uvment spending was stopped ! "

    And you don't see a problem with that?

    July 18, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    DMorris wrote:
    Conservatives want to lower the statutory tax rate from 35% to around 25% to enable American companies to be more competitive abroad while also encouraging new investment from foreign multinationals.
    That is argument is 100% spin. Did you know that over 40% of US corporations pay *no* US taxes already? Did you know that US corporations can deduct their foreign taxes in full from their US obligations? Do you realize that means US taxpayers foot the bill for foreign corporate tax obligations?

    July 18, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. anthony matthews

    It is imperative that the debt ceiling be raised.Regardless of who wins the next presidential election, he or she will have to raise the debt ceiling.Did Obama handle every issue in the proper way?no he did not.However the Republicans are on a crusade to crush any hope oh him being re elected.Thats their main focus.All those who claim to support the repulicans,comes from the camp of the very rich.The claim that if the rich were forced to pay more taxes it would make jobs even more scarce is a blatant lie. It is the rich folks that have moved most of the jobs off shore.Everyday people sit and wring their hands and moan about the scarcity of jobs.This exchange of bad news in forums such as this,helps no one.We all know whats ahead if the govt defaults.Raise your voices and tell the elected gods and godesses that its the legacy for our children thats at stake.Wake up middle class ,and speak as one voice before the final nail is driven into our coffins.The audacity of Orin Hatch to make the comment,that it is time for the middle class to step up and do their fair share.Total blindness seems to have stricken all of the republican party.Obama is not perfect and he is still learning,but someone needs to tell me what Bush did learn in eight years. Bill clinton indiscretions are remembered to this day,both Bush and Obama should have taken a lesson from him,as it relates to running a country. Though an Obama supporter,Bush+ Obama does not a Clinton make.The fiasco in Washington,is nothing more than a third rate circus with no other attraction than a bevy of clowns.

    July 18, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. david bidlack

    i find it amazing that me and lots of my friends lost their small family businesses during george bush's jr. time in office. he raised the depth ceiling 7 times during his trem. the republicans ran the nation and its economy right into a big hole. the job creators they talk about were given tax breaks ten years ago they still have the breaks to this day! so were are the jobs this theroy was supposed to creat?THE REPUBLICANS ARE CLUELESS WHEN IT COMES TO THE ECONOMY OR JOBS AND NOW THEY WANT PEOPLE TO THINK THEY HAVE SOME ANSWERS! DAAAAAAAAAA!

    July 18, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. anthony matthews

    Rudy you are on the ball sir!

    July 18, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Ty Chicago wrote:
    Also, let's not forget....the reason we are at this point is because the Democrats decided to drive spending to the limit without even passing a budget.
    The major flaw in your argument is that all spending legislation *must* originate in the Republican controlled House. No money is being spent in FY2011 that has not been approved by Republicans. Period.

    July 18, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. Debt Common Sense

    What happens when you spend more than you receive and max out your credit card, and then you lose your job and you have no more money to pay off your debt? Your credit score goes down, doesn't it? It becomes more difficult to borrow money, doesn't it? Nobody is willing to trust you if you can't manage what you already responsible for. Who is going to lend you more money? That is what is happening here. Would you lend others your money when you know they are not fiscally responsible and recklessly spend the money you give them, especially when you know that you are unlikely to be repaid back? Do you trust them with that money? Ask any financial advisor what you should do when you need to get out of debt. They'll likely say, "cut up your credit card and stop spending on things you don't absolutely need."

    Ok, so what if the debt ceiling is raised? If the government still spends more than they receive in revenue, do you think the debt crisis will be any better later than present? You think the economy is going to get any better? The debt will continue to increase as long as money spent is more than money received.

    What if the government raises taxes? Or if labor is too high? Or there is too many government micro-managing regulations and "red tape"? Don't you think the rich will take their business, lives, and money elsewhere? Why do you think most of the jobs are overseas now?

    July 18, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. midleclssfan

    Raising the debt ceiling is not the real problem. Its raising the debt ceiling in a way that doesn't make the President look good, is the real problem. Republicans have no shame.

    July 18, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. AZ DEM

    This is pure politics and it is why so many people are disenfranchised with Washington and all the partisan games. The debt cieling was raised under Bush 7+ times and although Democrats rallied against it the bil still passed. Now Congress has a Democratic president to deal with and a Republican House majority that is unable to take the great deal that was offered to them by the president because of their far right wing lobbyists...well what they need to realize is the American people don't want us to default so the debt ceiling needs to be raised and THEN we need a huge plan to reduce the deficit and reform entitlements and close ALL tax loopholes for EVERYONE rich or not.

    July 18, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Nicki Thompson

    This is Proof that politics is getting in the way of the business of the country.

    July 18, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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