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CNN Poll Shows Strong Support for Republican Position on Handling Debt Ceiling

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

As the country is just slightly more than a week away from the June 1 deadline for default, President Joe Biden and Democrats continue to act irresponsibly as they lament a difficult timeline they created, and even dangerously, as is the case with Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) warning of a "huge backlash" in the "streets." House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is standing strong, though, and has asked his party to stick with him. It also turns out that the American people believe in his view of raising the debt ceiling while cutting spending. 


On Tuesday, CNN released the results of their poll asking Americans their thoughts about raising the debt ceiling. A majority of respondents, at 60 percent, want to see the debt ceiling raised only if it cuts spending. Less than a quarter, at 24 percent, want it raised no matter what. Democrats have been fighting for this kind of clean debt ceiling raising. Fifteen percent don't want to raise the debt ceiling, which would allow the United States to default on its debt.

As is highlighted as a takeaway in a CNN write-up, a strong majority of Republicans at 79 percent and a majority of Independents at 58 percent believe the limit should only be raised alongside spending cuts. Democrats are statistically evenly split in that 46 want it raised no matter what, while 45 percent favor doing so with spending cuts. 

Complicating the situation is how respondents of both parties don't want their side to give up too much. As the write-up also mentions:

Despite the high stakes and broad agreement that the limit should be raised, most Americans with any sort of partisan lean say it would be a bigger problem if their side gave up too much in the ongoing negotiations than if the government were unable to pay its bills. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 73% say they are more concerned that Democrats will give up too much and important government programs will no longer be funded than that Democrats will fail to compromise and the government will not be able to pay its existing debts (26% are more concerned about that possibility). Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, a matching 73% say they are more concerned that Republicans will give up too much and government spending will continue at its current level than that Republicans will fail to compromise and the government will not be able to pay its existing debts, with 27% more concerned about default.


The poll was conducted May 17-20 with 1,227 respondents and a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

It's worth emphasizing how much is on the side of House Republicans beyond the poll numbers. In passing the Limit, Save, Grow Act, House Republicans are the only ones who have passed a plan to avoid default. Biden also rebuffed McCarthy's attempts at negotiations for over three months, leaving the White House and fellow Democrats without a leg to stand on when it comes to any complaining about a timeline. 

The plan also returns to spending levels from fiscal year 2022, which Democrats were all too happy to champion at the time. Some of the particularly popular provisions include work requirements for benefits--which Biden himself championed as a senator--and returning unspent COVID money.

A separate report from CNN, as well as reporting from The Hill has showcased how Democrats are in disarray. 

This includes Jayapal and fellow progressives' opposition to cutting back spending. She and other Democrats have even made clear they want Biden to unilaterally use the 14th Amendment to avoid default, despite how it, at best, stands on shaky ground constitutionally and wouldn't solve present concerns given how it would be litigated. Even Biden has pointed to such issues.


Amidst the continuous and at times contentious negotiations, which have often gone backwards even with such little time left, McCarthy told CNN that "we are going to raise the debt ceiling."

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