Americans are slightly more concerned about the effects of raising the debt ceiling than the catastrophic consequences of a federal default should Congress refrain from increasing the borrowing limit, according to a Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll.
Nearly half of respondents -- 48 percent -- said raising the debt limit was a greater concern than not, while just 35 percent said the opposite.
The numbers underscore the potential political peril of voting to raise the government's borrowing limit without doing something to address the fiscal pressures pushing up the debt. They also suggest Democrats have only been partially successful in communicating the dangers of default to the general public. Almost half of those polled said they did not feel like they well understood the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling.
The poll was conducted by telephone from May 19 to 22 among a random national sample of 1,004 adults. Results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.