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Tipsheet

Oh, So That's Who Americans Will Blame for a Debt Default

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

President Joe Biden has been seemingly unable to catch a break as he and the White House scramble to show competence and strength amid debt ceiling negotiations with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) who has outmaneuvered Democrats at what seems to be every turn. This week, amid contradictory and increasingly desperate White House press briefings, more bad news for Biden emerged in the form of a new poll showing more Americans would blame Biden for a default than they would McCarthy or congressional Republicans. 

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The survey, conducted and released by Fox News with direction from Beacon Research and Shaw and Company Research showed how Biden has lost the messaging battle on the debt limit. 

When it comes to Biden's initial position that no spending cuts be included in a bill increasing the debt ceiling — one that saw the president waste more than two months refusing to engage in talks with Speaker McCarthy — Americans overwhelmingly stand against Biden. 

According to the Fox News Poll, 57 percent of Americans say the debt limit should only be increased if spending cuts are included. Just 27 percent said the debt ceiling should be lifted without additional requirements and 13 percent said the debt limit should not be increased and the U.S. should default on its debt. 

If, in fact, the United States defaults on its debt before a deal can be reached to raise the debt ceiling — bearing in mind that House Republicans already passed a bill to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default — more Americans would blame President Biden than Republicans in Congress by a margin of 47 percent to 44 percent. Eight percent of Americans said they would blame both if a default takes place. 

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Notably, the lay of the land in this debt ceiling fight is markedly different from a previous fight. In 2011, a Fox News survey asking Americans whether they'd blame then-President Obama or congressional Republicans for a default, 47 percent said they'd blame the GOP while 32 percent said Obama would bear the blame. 

That means President Biden and the White House — despite having the mainstream media, most big tech companies, and most of America's cultural institutions on their side — has managed to lose the narrative advantage they hoped to have on the debt ceiling issue. It's gotten so desperate inside the West Wing that Biden aides have been whining about the mainstream media's alleged failure to "frame" the debt limit situation in a way that benefits the president. 

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In continuing bad news for Biden as he looks toward 2024, Fox News' poll also found that 44 percent of Americans view the president as "corrupt," 53 percent say he "doesn't care" about Americans, and 57 percent say he is not "honest and trustworthy." When it comes to his job in general, 59 percent of Americans say Biden lacks the "judgment to serve as president effectively" and 60 percent believe Biden does not have "the mental soundness" to be commander in chief. 

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