New survey, same story: Majority wants compromise
July 26th, 2011
04:46 PM ET
11 years ago

New survey, same story: Majority wants compromise

Washington (CNN) - A new national poll, but the same headline: When it comes to the battle over raising the nation's debt ceiling, Americans want compromise!

According to a Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday, 68 percent of the public says that lawmakers who share their views on the issue should compromise, even if it means striking a deal with which they disagree. Just 23 percent of people questioned in the poll say lawmakers should stand by their principles, even if that leads to a government default. The 68 percent who call for compromise is up 13 points from April.

Listen to the Political Notebook: Venting on Washington Over the Debt Ceiling here:

But like earlier polls from other organizations, the Pew survey also points to a partisan divide. More than eight out of ten Democrats and more than two thirds of independent voters favor a compromise on raising the debt ceiling by an August 2nd deadline to avoid a possible government default. But that number drops to 53 percent among Republicans. And a majority of self-identified tea party supporters favor lawmakers standing by their principles even if means the government goes into default.

Just about every national survey conducted over the past couple of weeks suggests that the public wants a compromise. Like the Pew survey, a CNN/ORC International poll released last Thursday indicated that while Americans are hungry for a solution to the debt ceiling debate, there is a big partisan divide that isn't going to make a solution easy to achieve. While Democrats and independents are open to a number of different approaches, the CNN survey indicated that Republicans draw the line at tax increases, and many of them oppose raising the nation's debt ceiling under any circumstances.

"It all comes down to fundamental philosophical differences on the debt ceiling," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "A large majority of Democrats and independents predict that not raising the debt ceiling will create a crisis or major problems in the U.S. But roughly half of all Republicans think that will create only minor problems or no problems at all."

The CNN and Pew polls both show that two-thirds of all Americans think that a failure to increase the debt ceiling would affect their own personal financial situation. According to the Pew poll, nearly half are worried about the suspension of government services and benefits that affect them personally, with Social Security leading the list.

Both the CNN and Pew surveys were conducted before the prime time addresses Monday night by President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.

As politicians continued to argue, the clock continued to tick down. If Congress fails to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by August 2, Americans could face rising interest rates and a declining dollar, among other problems. As the cost of borrowing rises, individual mortgages, car loans and student loans could become significantly more expensive.

Some financial analysts have warned of a potential stock market crash and a downgrade of America's triple-A credit rating. Officials also warn that without an increase in the debt limit, the federal government would not be able to pay all its bills next month.

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press was conducted July 20-24, with 1,501 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International on July 18-20, with 1,009 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: Debt • Deficit • Polls
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    More proof that (a) the teatards are delusional and (b) that the GOBPbaggers are lying when they claim to represent the American people or are doing what the American people want them to do. What a vile bunch of un-American corrupt corporatism cultists.

    July 26, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    But the unintelligent teabaggers believe the minority (23%) rules.

    Shame on the idiocy.

    July 26, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. ConservaFASCISTS/Dutch, Bad Newz, VA

    But roughly half of all Republicans think that will create only minor problems or no problems at all."

    What is wrong with the republican party??? It's not like they're in denial. They know good and well that a downgrade will be economic distaster on a level we've never seen before. There is a time for politics and a time to put COUNTRY FIRST!

    July 26, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. S.positive

    America brought this to itself when it allowed these clowns back two years after they destroyed the economy in 2008. How pathetic to say the least.

    July 26, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    "A large majority of Democrats and independents predict that not raising the debt ceiling will create a crisis or major problems in the U.S. But roughly half of all Republicans think that will create only minor problems or no problems at all."

    Of which ALL the GOPers *anticipating no problems at all* will be screaming bloody murder with their fingers pointed directly at President Obama when the major crisis does occur. They are, in fact, praying for another 2007 economic meltdown, and are doing everything possible to make it happen, regardless of the damage caused.

    July 26, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. carol straitz

    It is time for all of congress to get off their high horses and stand behind the President. People are tired including me, of the shenadigans gong on in DC. Please vote for the plan the President has put forward .

    July 26, 2011 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Mrs. Nearhoff

    We are a military family, and feel very strongly that the President has the right plan for our country. All the Republicians that are holding our country's debt hostage, should NOT be re-elected. Our family's financial well being simply can not take another hit, and President Obama is trying to do the right thing, but like always, congress is preventing him from doing it. I truly feel we need to revamp congress and send a strong message that we want the President to do his job, as we (the people) not congress, voted on.

    July 26, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Maggie

    Out of the 1501 people surveyed there must have been maybe 20 republicans and 30 independents and then the rest democrats. That's why the percentage went up. Sneaky polling being done and of course it will work out just right for what CNN wants us to see.

    July 26, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    This is Boehner's Waterloo.

    July 26, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. Darko

    Compromise does not equal gimmicks.

    We don't want phantom cuts spread out over 10 years for a 1 year extension. We don't want reductions in the 'rate of growth' of the debt....we want reduction in 'the debt itself.'

    I will not offer up one more penny of taxes until Congress puts for a plan to get into the black...not just a reduction in how much we borrow.

    The ratings agencies aren't looking at the debt ceiling when threatening a downgrade. They're looking at one thing... the size of our debt and the rate of spending.

    July 26, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. Lisa P

    If the U.S. has to go into default because of the House freshmen idiots the Tea Party will become the Radioactive Waste Party - no one will ever come near them again. The situation is that toxic. Astroturfing can no longer save them.

    July 26, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. cj

    I have written and called my rep in congress and Boehner , not that it makes a difference. THey have no clue! Just heard a Repub congressman Jordon say that Obama is just trying to scare seniors! There is enouch money to do everything we need to do! So why do we have a deficiet.??? He also said the American people are on their side ! He seems to think the polls are incorrect! They were sent to do a job for the American people and by God they will even it we default! Such a patriot!!! Hopfully this idiot will not get re-elected . I am a senior and it is not Obama that scares m e, it is this new Republican party !

    July 26, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. gt

    moe , larry and curley wonder were in the fix were in now....

    July 26, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. Michael Julihen

    have read a news article on the Yahoo website about The Republicans no accepting any tax increase: The American Administration (and the American People) need to pass a GOOD AND SERVICES TAX(GST) similar to the one that we have in Canada,

    You have no choice.

    ...not with the military budget and other expenses that the American people have and need.

    There are 33 million people living in Canada, and at the time that the GST(Good and Services Tax) was at 7% , this tax racked up over thirty(30) BILLION DOLLARS to the Federal Government in Ottawa(ONTARIO) CANADA.
    The population in the United States is over three hundred(300) Million people; if my calculations are correct, this new tax would bring over three hundred(300) BILLION DOLLARS to your central Government , in Washington,DC.


    Surely the Republicans have to consider the importance and the NECESSITY OF PASSING THIS NEW TAX .



    July 26, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    While a majority of Americans want a compromise, GOP/Tea Party wingnuts are holding Speaker Boehner and the nation hostage to their no tax ideology. Americans need to let the Tea Party/GOP know in the 2012 elections that they do not represent the silent majority.

    July 26, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. GOP = Greed Over People

    The GOP is not interested in the 68% of Americans, they only cater to 87 ignorant tea bagging House freshmen.

    July 26, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. Mike Dallas

    13% of Americans support the tea baggers in the House? What happened to the "will of the people"?

    For that matter, what happened to JOBS, JOBS JOBS?

    July 26, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. david bidlack

    lets deal with a few facts about the GOP. george bush raised the dept ceiling 7 times in his eight years in office. george bush also borroed $674 billion from taxes raised by social sucurity taxes just to offset his deficit so he would not be the first president to have a trillion dollar deficit . social sucerity is an issue republicans want on the table even thow it has never added to the total deficit. the fact is $2.3 trillion dollars is owed to the accout that was suplus monies borrowed and that account has the I.O.U.s left in the account to show the dept owed. now the GOP says they don't want to tax "the job creators" the rich was given a big tax cut in 2002 and have had it for 12 years! so were are all the jobs that "job creators made"? the jobs are in the minds of the failed "supply side economics" ideology these clueless GOP people follow. now they think that somehow creating a world wide depression with a default will somehow fix the problem!

    July 26, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  19. Bill

    The GOP in the House (especially tea bag freshman) will be hammered in the 2012 elections for their intransigence and obstructionist behavior. Bet on it.

    July 26, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  20. Joanne

    We are sick of ther bickering and MAD AT TEA PARTY REPUBLICANS, NO NO THE PARTY OF NO. they just want to make President Obama look bad and each one of them sound like they are reading from Grover Norquist's and Koch Bros. script. We ARE SICK EMOTIONALLY and PHYSICALLY from this. There's no more time to debate a bill. Do the Harry Reid plan and GET MOVING!!! Stop bickering, Grow Up. NEVER EVER will we vote Republican again!!! The Tea Party's opinion is not the opinion of all of America!! We NEED SHARED SACRIFICE, but theres no time to do this. DO THE REID PLAN!!!!

    July 26, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  21. sara

    This is ridiculous. I cannot believe that our governing system has become Dictatorial and held hostage by a few ignorant people who carry placards and screamed with anger. They don't have a clue about governing. Compromise is how THE WORLD works.

    July 26, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. A Real Patriot

    So once again we are seeing the "Tyranny of the Minority"-that's when 23% sounds like 55% and is treated like 80%-

    The adults in both parties have to stand up to these extremists instead of enabling them-Politics be damned. Obama has already staked his Presidency on this-it's time to Republican Leaders in the House to do the same.

    For motivation-how about every Republican read john Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage"-that would be a great start.

    July 26, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  23. Bloom

    Obama and Reid aren't into compromise unless it means re-election. There is finally a group as obstinate and stubborn as they are and its going to go down to the wire.

    July 26, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. James B.

    What is missing from this shouting match is who brought us to this mess: on all accounts it has been the Republicans. According to a recent article in the NY Times (24 July 2011), the vast majority of the debt can be cleanly linked to Bush tax cuts, the two wars and to a lesser extent the medicare drug benefit (part D). If you listen to the TV, it seems Mr. Obama created all of this under his watch and that is simply not even close to the truth. It is akin to eating at a restaurant, leaving before paying and then blaming the next guy who sits at the table. When will the American people stop voting in these right wing extremists? These folk are destroying our country.

    July 26, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  25. Kevin R

    New survey, same story: Majority wants compromise. I guess so... the Majority of the people surveyed are probably the ones who DO NOT PAY TAXES

    July 26, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
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