Polls: Americans want compromise in debt ceiling standoff
July 19th, 2011
03:26 PM ET
11 years ago

Polls: Americans want compromise in debt ceiling standoff

Washington (CNN) - Five new national polls appear to back up President Barack Obama's statement that the public supports a combination of both spending cuts and tax increases as part of any agreement to raise the country's debt ceiling.

And the latest surveys also indicate that an increasing amount of people say that action needs to be taken to raise the debt limit.

"We've got the American people who agree with that balanced approach," the president said Tuesday to reporters at the White House, as he offered strong praise for a deficit reduction plan put together by a bipartisan group of senators, calling the measure's mix of tax hikes and spending reforms "broadly consistent" with his own approach to the current debt ceiling crisis.

The plan, by members of the Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Six" would cut the nation's debt by about $3.7 trillion over the next 10 years. If Congress fails to raise the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2, Americans could be hit with rising interest rates, a declining dollar, and increasingly jittery financial markets, among other things.

An ABC/Washington Post poll released Tuesday indicates that more than six in ten Americans say any agreement on the deficit needs to include a combination of spending cuts and new taxes. According to the survey, large majorities of Democrats and independent voters support the combined approach, with nearly half of Republicans also in agreement.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll also out Tuesday indicates that 58 percent of Americans support the president's proposal, which would reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion dollars over the next decade by cutting federal spending, increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and reducing the level of spending on Medicare. Thirty-six percent of those questioned say they support a proposal by Republicans in Congress which would reduce the Federal deficit by $2.5 trillion over the next decade by cutting Federal spending and would not raise taxes on corporations or the wealthy.

A CBS News poll released Monday indicates that two-thirds of Americans say any agreement should include spending cuts and tax increases, with 28 percent saying a deal should only include spending cuts and 3 percent saying it should only include tax increases. According to the survey, there is little partisan divide on the question. More than seven out of ten Democrats and more than two-thirds of independent voters support a balanced approach, as do 55 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of self-described tea party movement supporters.

A Quinnipiac University poll released last week had similar findings. The survey indicated that two-thirds of the public supported a deal that included spending cuts as well as tax increases for wealthy Americans and corporations. Nearly nine out of ten Democrats and two-thirds of independents questioned supported the inclusion of tax increases. Republicans in that poll were divided on the issue.

A Gallup poll Monday asked a different question, but also suggests that Americans want compromise. According to the survey, two-thirds say the people who represent them in government should agree to a compromise plan to raise the debt ceiling, even if it's a proposal with which they disagree. Only 27 percent say they would like their federal lawmaker to hold out for the basic plan they want, even if the debt ceiling is not raised by the deadline. According to the poll, 72 percent of independents, 69 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans say their lawmaker should agree to a compromise plan.

"Recent polls seem to indicate that Americans are getting more nervous about the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling by August 2," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "They may not like tax hikes and they may not like spending cuts, but they really don't like the idea of another steep economic downturn. That may have whetted their appetite for any sort of a plan, despite the details."

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday highlights the rise of concerns over the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling. According to the survey, 55 percent of the public, including 63 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents, and 47 percent of Republicans, say that not taking action would be problematic.

According to the CBS News poll, 46 percent of Americans say the debt ceiling should be raised, with 49 percent disagreeing. But the 46 percent figure is up 22 points from early June.

Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • Polls
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. A real American

    Actually, the 47% who "pay no taxes' pay a lot more taxes that the rich when you figure all other taxes besides income tax. Face it, Income tax on higher income Americans is the lowest it's been in 50-some years. Especially when you consider how low the rate is on capital gains. Time to pay up.

    July 19, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. A real American

    BTW, Rasmussen always skews right and you know it.

    July 19, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Mikey

    @ Rickster – The only problem you have is that all the real GOP candidates stink compared to the "generic" one.

    Can someone please tell me what the conservative most 15% of the population always assumes that the majority think like they do? I believe the average American is a much better human being than the fearful, hateful, narrow-minded, selfish, angry, shortsighted, small-minded, self-righteous.... well, you get the picture. Before you complain, if you don't want to think of you that way, don't behave that way. Pretty simple.

    July 19, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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