New survey, same story: Majority wants compromise
July 26th, 2011
04:46 PM ET
12 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. vic , nashville ,tn

    “23 percent of people questioned in the poll say lawmakers should stand by their principles, even if that leads to a government default.”

    23% will win they decide the election. This is our fault we don’t participate time for all eligible voters to get out and vote

    July 26, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  2. Ron

    Veto-proof majority for Obama next Nov!! Let's get these tea-publican clowns and the GOP leadership who made a deal with the devil OUT of office next Nov. This is imbarrassing!

    July 26, 2011 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
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