Polling News

Big Picture: Public Opinion on the Debt Limit

June 01, 2023

As the debt ceiling fight comes to an end with a Senate vote looming, there’s been a flurry of polls on the subject. New analysis of the surveys by The Washington Post reveals some common elements, regardless of the pollster or spin. 

Why It Matters: The waters have been muddied by messaging from both Democrats and Republicans. Despite their competing narratives, the polls collectively show Americans believe their government is spending too much money.

By The Numbers:

  • CNN polling found 60% of Americans believe Congress should only raise the debt ceiling if it cuts spending at the same time, while 24% believe the debt ceiling should be raised no matter what and 15% believe the debt limit should not be raised.
  • An AP-NORC poll found 63% support increasing the debt limit only if lawmakers include reductions in the federal budget deficit, 19% support a debt limit increase without limitation, and 16% believe Congress should not raise the debt limit under any circumstances.
  • NPR polling found 52% believe Congress should increase the debt ceiling first to avoid a default on federal debt and discuss spending cuts separately while 42% only believed the deal should come with spending cuts attached.
  • Monmouth University polling found 51% believed the debt ceiling and spending cuts should be dealt with separately, while only 25% believed raising the debt ceiling should come with negotiations over federal spending. 

Devil’s in the Details: These polls show Americans wanted the debt ceiling increased; however, NPR and Monmouth polls stated that a “slim majority” wanted the debt ceiling raised without spending cuts, while Monmouth reported a debt deal without stipulations was preferred 2:1. While their polling found these conclusions, they failed to provide all the options and so came out with much different conclusions than other pollsters who did include more options. 

The Bottom Line: An AP poll earlier this year found 60% of Americans believe the federal government spends too much. While many of these respondents couldn’t cite specific programs or chose which major spending categories they’d cut, the point that they want a more fiscally responsible government is still important. Republicans should continue fighting for what the majority of Americans stand with them on and develop a serious approach to controlling federal spending long-term. 

Related PollingNews

Placeholder polling news
February 15, 2024 |
Polling News
New data from a 2023 Pew Research Center survey reveals trends of social media use across demographics, providing insight into how voters can be reached most effectively.  ...
Placeholder polling news
February 08, 2024 |
Polling News
A new NBC News national poll shows President Joe Biden trails former President Donald Trump on nearly every major issue. ...
Placeholder polling news
February 01, 2024 |
Polling News
President Joe Biden is weak on what is likely a top issue going into the 2024 election – immigration.  ...
Placeholder polling news
January 25, 2024 |
Polling News
Former President Donald Trump had another primary victory over 50% in New Hampshire this week, beating former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley by eleven points. ...
Button karlsbooks
Button readinglist
Button nextapperance