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. 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.

    February 3, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "Republicans, by a 55%-29% margin, say the President would be more responsible."

    Of course they do. As far as they're concerned, Obama not doing as he's told is just more uppitiness from an upjumped something something something...

    February 3, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. rs

    Well duh! Every President of this and the last century who have had to raise the deby limit (including Reagan, and the two Bush Presidents) did so without any resistance or conflict.

    Part of that is logic, long lost by the GOP, that the bills that come due above or below the debt limit are there because as a nation we (through Congress) agreed to to take on those debts. To not pay them means we default. When we default on our financial obligations -bad things happen.
    No, let's be clear. It was not until President Obama that Republicans woke up long enough to make noise about the Debt limit, or the debt or defict- things they built like mad since the Reagan years. Remember Mr. Cheney? "Deficits don't matter".

    So, of course Americans blame the GOP around the debt limit conflicts- they make them!

    February 3, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Tom

    The Republicans have painted themselves into a corner on this one. Multiple attempts at holding the nation's finances hostage to force adoption of a Republican political agenda have left most people distrustful of the Republicans' motives. At this point, even when Republicans raise legitimate questions about government spending, it's going to be seen as yet another political ploy.

    February 3, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    What a great example of unjournalism: report the poll numbers but don't provide any facts that clarify the situation.

    Fact: The GOP/Teatrolls just signed onto a 2 year compromise budget that sets the spending levels that require raising the debt ceiling.

    Fact: The GOP/Teatrolls control only the House and therefore only had leverage enough to get what they got in that compromise budget.

    Fact: The GOP/Teatrolls are now essentially trying to renege on the budget deal and get more of their agenda by threatening to blow up the global economy if they're not given some goodies they couldn't otherwise get through normal, proper legislative processes.

    Fact: CNN only wants to talk about what polls say because the reality of the situation is pretty stark and clear that the GOP/Teatrolls are just throwing another "gimme gimme gimme" fit that shows they think that threatening the global economy is a way of undoing elections results that leave them the minority party and fairly powerless to push through their agenda through normal process.

    February 3, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    The GOP is the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result.

    February 3, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. rs

    Excellent point Tom, Americans see hostage takers for what they are- economic terrorists. I think if the GOP "miscalculates" on the debt limit again, Americans may open a new front on the War on Terror- against the GOP!

    February 3, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Here we go again, the GOP/Tea Party playing these games. When will they get it through their thick skulls that President Obama is not going to negotiate with them on the debt ceiling. Let me inform some people of the history of these "manufactured" situations the GOP keeps getting us into. You see if you look at how they've operated since President Obama was elected and re-elected, the GOP never wanted to work with him remember what senate minority Mitch McConnell said and I quote "Our single objective is to make President Obama a one term president", not make the American people lives better, but do everything to destroy the man whom the MAJORITY of Americans elected and re-elected. The debt ceiling and recent GOP government shut-down is all part of this. They never wanted to work with the President, they have always wanted to use these situations to put forth their ideas to which they know would not pass the senate let alone get to the President for his signature. Now they are talking "compromise" in the past it was a dirty word for them. I believe the President will NOT give in to them, then the financial markets will be in chaos and the GOP will try once again to blame the President, just like they did during the government shut, but WE THE PEOPLE are way too smart to fall for that BS.

    February 3, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. carlos

    The GOP has decided to not pay for the budget they passed last month... and they wanna make it the President's fault? I must check my dictionary to see if REALITY is still a word.

    February 3, 2014 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    And will CNN be doing any reporting on how these manufactured crisis hostage games effect the economy? Of course not...the GOP/Teatrolls is getting most of the blame for it, so they can't report like that. IOKIYAR

    February 3, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. O'drama ya Mama

    SHHHHHHH I dont think they got the message last time. Lets just let them continue to this nonsense. It will certainly help in November.

    February 3, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. pjoe

    What difference, at the point, does it make? Right ya'll Hillary-billies?

    February 3, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "It will certainly help in November."

    Not with the debt ceiling. They are welcome to shut down the gov't to damage themselves all the want, but default on the nation's debt would severely damage the country's and the global economies, likely throwing the world into a tailspin financial crisis. The radicalized Teatrolls think that's their opportunity for a "reset button" on the USA.

    February 3, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. pappy

    For those who don't like CNN go to fox and you can watch them dissect the super bowl interview over and over and over with like 50 different host and guests for at least the next 6 month's.

    February 3, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    The debt is entirely Obama created, and there is zero justification for continuing to allow him to expand the debt, more and more.

    February 3, 2014 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "The debt is entirely Obama created"

    Except math proves that wrong. The debt is almost entirely attributable to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Bush tax cuts, Medicare Part D and the recession. There are tiny slivers left attributable to the stimulus and the ACA. You can not like the numbers all you want, but they are what they are.

    February 3, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  17. Zon

    It's an election year, I would exceptionally surprised if the Republicans were that stupid. Although they have shown otherwise before.

    February 3, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    I recall a poll where 20% of republicans thought Mittens Romney killed bin Laden. And we have a person who posted that the national debt is entirely Obama created.

    February 3, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. Tampa Tim

    At this point, what difference does it make about what republicans say and do. They are reality challenged, thanks to the efforts of domestic terrorists.

    February 3, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. Abbey

    The leadership today coming from the president's office is flat out bad. Like Jimmy Carter bad.

    February 3, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  21. penguin

    The budget and amount of spending is controlled by the Republican dominated House. And the Republican mantra that the problem is just too much spending is hogwash. We need to increase revenue (yes, raise taxes) and make spending cuts (partricularly military spending)

    February 3, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. len

    Vote the teaparty and gop out in 2014

    February 3, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |

    Long lost to the democrats is that this isn't about paying current bills. It's about lowering future spending to address our $17T national debt.

    February 3, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  24. MTATL67

    Then why isn't the headline "GOP will take blame"????

    February 3, 2014 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  25. Qwen

    Congress and the president have agreed to spend this money through the budget that was just passed. If you do not like the budget why did you pass it?

    February 3, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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