CNN/ORC Poll: Debt Ceiling blame game
February 3rd, 2014
04:34 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN/ORC Poll: Debt Ceiling blame game

Washington (CNN) - More Americans would blame Republicans in Congress than President Barack Obama if the nation's debt ceiling is not raised, according to a new national poll.

The release of the CNN/ORC International survey on Monday came as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew issued yet another public warning to Congress to act quickly to extend the nation's borrowing authority.

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Fifty-four percent of those questioned say they would blame the GOP in Congress if the debt ceiling isn't raised, with 29% saying they'd hold the President more responsible.

Twelve percent say they'd point fingers at both sides. The numbers are little changed from last fall, when Republicans took more of the blame for a partial federal government shutdown sparked by a push to defund the new healthcare law.

According to the poll, Democrats would overwhelmingly blame Republicans in Congress, with independents, by a 49%-30% margin, blaming the GOP in Congress. Republicans, by a 55%-29% margin, say the President would be more responsible.

If lawmakers don't act before this Friday, the Treasury Department will be forced to use special accounting maneuvers known as "extraordinary measures" to continue to finance the government so that it can meet its financial obligations.

Those obligations include everything from issuing Social Security checks to paying government contractors to making payroll for federal workers and military personnel.

Lew estimates those extraordinary measures will run out by the end of February. If Congress hasn't acted by then, Treasury will only be able to pay bills with the cash balance it has on hand plus incoming revenue.

House Republicans last week again said they would demand conditions be met before they agreed to raise the debt ceiling. They didn't specify, however, what those demands would be.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International January 31-February 2, with 1,010 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN Money's Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN poll • Congress • Debt • President Obama
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    The Congress ran up the credit card bill, now they don't want to make the payments. 5 years of this. It's getting old.

    Vote straight dem in 2014.

    February 3, 2014 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  2. Thomas

    What children's story will Ted Cruz read us this time , " If I Ran The Zoo " ?

    February 3, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  3. SamIAm

    Who cares who should be blamed IF the borrowing authority isn't raised. I'd like to see a poll reflecting how many people actually understand the consequences of this scandalous and never ending debt explosion.

    February 3, 2014 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  4. just me

    That's right, Rick. There was no debt or deficits before. 2009. Or umemployment. Or domestic spying or attacks on our embassies. Oh, how I miss those shangri_ la days of 2008!

    February 3, 2014 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  5. jim jackson

    Hey Rick, Bush ran up the biggest deficit in history after Clinton handed over an 88 billion surplus. Get an education. Reagan raised the debt ceiling many many times. Not to mention a useless war and 5000 American lives.

    February 3, 2014 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  6. YoonYoungJo

    I dont see how the President would be responsible at all, at all. It's a Congress that approves it and the last time I checked Congress is mostly GOP. Now the president has said on numerous occasions if there are concerns the Republixans have, they can have a debate about it after the ceiling is raised. But it seems like after every debt cieling limit approval, there is no discussion. Then again maybe its because its the same old things over and over again. Lower taxes for the rich, squeeze the middle class and the poor. Lower taxes for the rich corporations. Enough with tilting the scales all the way to either side. Its time to find a middle ground. How about $.50 cents of new revenue for every $.25 in cuts or even smaller if need be. $.25 cents in revenue for every $.10 cents in cuts. Middle ground, let's find some middle ground and keep moving forward.

    February 3, 2014 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  7. resident

    Rick, sarcasm, right?

    February 4, 2014 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  8. Namelinda

    Republicans bankrupted the country under George Bush and now are still playing games with the American economy and the paying of a debt the US owes. Go ahead and do it again. Outcome: Disaster!

    February 4, 2014 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  9. Tim

    Raising the debt limit is just bad money. My grandchildren will be paying it off. You all are nuts and Obama is a pathological liar. BTW, as a retired army vet, I can assure you that most combat military do not think well of liberals, democrats or Obama. Neither do farmers. You don't bite the hand that feeds you or protects you.

    February 4, 2014 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  10. Zippy

    So, the bottom line is Democrats will blame Republicans and Republicans will blame the President.
    Did not see that coming, excellent reporting CNN!

    February 4, 2014 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  11. mike

    Congress spends money and now they want to negotiate as to paying the bill. If you or I did that with are debts we know what the end result will.

    February 4, 2014 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  12. J.V.Hodgson

    In past shutdowns the Republicans could argue no budget.... and still they got the " blame"
    Now this time around we have budget they including teaparty republicans said yes to.
    Its the budget morons that sets the debt ceiling. No amount of artificial polling questions from CNN or elsewhere will not result in republicans taking the blame if the shutdown government gain for Not allowing allowing an unconditional debt increase in line with approved budget needs..
    Me I hope they do it again it just ensures they lose House and Senate in 2014 in places never thought possible.

    February 4, 2014 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  13. Jerry

    People don't realize it's not the government's job to take care and support them.!.!
    We have way too many Government dependant people in this country today..

    February 4, 2014 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  14. Jon

    When are we as a nation going to wake up and stop spending more money than what we have? The longer we do this, the more people that will get hurt when it all comes to an end. Both sides are responsible for this mess we are in and I see no end in sight. There is so much waste and abuse in D.C. that I don't know whether to laugh or cry, and no one seems to give a rat's behind about it as long as they get theirs. We need to realize that by keeping the status quo, we are only kicking the can down the road. Thank your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for funding everything we are doing now!

    February 4, 2014 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  15. Helobubba88

    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. ... I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

    — Then-Sen. Barack Obama, floor speech in the Senate, March 16, 2006

    February 4, 2014 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  16. abnguy

    The wrong question is asked. It should be who is to blame if the debt ceiling needs to be raised? The Democrats would be responsible. I like a simple plan like the penny plan to reduce the deficit and debt. Decrease everyone's spending in the fed by one penny per dollar per year until we live within our means.

    February 4, 2014 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  17. hkirwin

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    "It is not something that is a negotiating tool. It's not leverage." – President Obama
    That's why republicans will be blamed. Plain and simple. The public knows that it's Congress' obligation to raise the debt ceiling. Republicans seem to have amnesia that their savior Ronald Raegan raised the debt ceiling 18 times with no strings attached.

    using your rationale, why not just remove the debt ceiling. Allow the President the ability to spend as much as he likes. The fly in the butter is sooner or later we won't be able to even make the interest payment. What then, just print more money? Sorry Charlie the money will have no value. Then what?

    February 4, 2014 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  18. hkirwin

    If the republican's were smart they would just vote present on the debt ceiling. Allow the Dims to own the debt problem. Then the Dims will have no one to blame, but themselves after the economy tanks and we can't get credit. Then the Republican's can blame Obama and the Dims for years and years.

    February 4, 2014 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  19. hkirwin

    The GOP Solution

    The GOP Solution: Turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Female, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Male, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military during the next "unfunded/off-the-books" war. And don't forget the GOP all time favorite.............TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!

    Don't laugh, they really believe this stuff.

    February 4, 2014 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  20. spinrbait

    why do we even need a debt ceiling. or elected representatives. just anoint obama to take care of it.

    February 4, 2014 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  21. JY

    Borrow and spend conservatives

    February 4, 2014 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
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