Poll: Majority Sides With GOP on Debt-Ceiling Hike

Sixty-one percent say the debt ceiling should be leveraged in exchange for spending cuts, even if that puts the country at risk of default.

Boehner: Speaking at Economic Club.
National Journal
Patrick Reis
See more stories about...
Patrick Reis
Sept. 26, 2013, 7:25 a.m.

More than six in 10 Amer­ic­ans say Con­gress should re­quire spend­ing cuts be­fore rais­ing the debt ceil­ing, even if that puts the na­tion at risk of de­fault, ac­cord­ing to a Bloomberg poll re­leased Thursday.

Pres­id­ent Obama and con­gres­sion­al Demo­crats are de­mand­ing a debt-ceil­ing in­crease with no con­di­tions, with the pres­id­ent re­peatedly ad­mon­ish­ing Con­gress to “pay the bills that they’ve already racked up.” The busi­ness com­munity — wary of the eco­nom­ic con­sequences of de­fault — is call­ing on Con­gress to raise the lim­it as well.

But those ar­gu­ments ap­pear to have failed to win over a ma­jor­ity of the pub­lic thus far, with only 28 per­cent of re­spond­ents telling Bloomberg they fa­vor an un­con­di­tion­al in­crease. El­ev­en per­cent said they were un­sure.

Rais­ing the debt ceil­ing does not au­thor­ize any new con­gres­sion­al spend­ing. In­stead, it au­thor­izes the Treas­ury De­part­ment to bor­row more to pay the coun­try’s ex­ist­ing ob­lig­a­tions.

By with­hold­ing an in­crease, however, Re­pub­lic­ans see a win­dow to force spend­ing cuts, a man­euver they suc­cess­fully em­ployed in 2011, when they agreed to raise the debt ceil­ing only after Demo­crats agreed to put in place a spend­ing-re­duc­tion plan that even­tu­ally pro­duced the cur­rent across-the-board dis­cre­tion­ary spend­ing cuts known as the se­quester.

The non­par­tis­an Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice says the de­fi­cit is fall­ing sharply when meas­ured as a per­cent­age of the coun­try’s total eco­nom­ic out­put, but the ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans see it dif­fer­ently. Fifty-nine per­cent of poll re­spond­ents said the de­fi­cit is grow­ing, 26 per­cent said it was hold­ing steady, and only 10 per­cent said it is get­ting smal­ler.

Bloomberg’s poll was done via in­ter­views of 1,000 U.S. adults con­duc­ted between Sept. 20 and Sept. 23.

What We're Following See More »
How Many People Protested in Philly Yesterday?
2 minutes ago

About 5,500, according to official estimates. "The Monday figures marked a large increase from the protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where even the largest protests only drew a couple of hundred demonstrators. But it’s a far cry from the 35,000 to 50,000 that Philadelphia city officials initially expected."

NY Times’ Upshot Gives Clinton 68% Chance to Win
16 minutes ago

Only a day after FiveThirtyEight's Now Cast gave Donald Trump a 57% chance of winning, the New York Times' Upshot fires back with its own analysis that shows Hillary Clinton with a 68% chance to be the next president. Its model "calculates win probabilities for each state," which incorporate recent polls plus "a state's past election results and national polling." Notably, all of the battleground states that "vote like the country as a whole" either lean toward Clinton or are toss-ups. None lean toward Trump.

Indiana Lt. Gov. Tapped to Run for Pence’s Seat
53 minutes ago

On the second ballot, the Indiana Republican Party's Central Committee tapped Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb as their nominee to succeed Gov. Mike Pence this fall. "Holcomb was a top aide to former Gov. Mitch Daniels and Sen. Dan Coats and a former chairman of the state Republican Party."

Sanders May Officially Nominate Clinton
2 hours ago

"Negotiations are underway to have Bernie Sanders officially nominate Hillary Clinton for president at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, a move that would further signal party unity. According to a source familiar with the talks, the Vermont senator would nominate the presumptive Democratic nominee after the roll call vote."

Sanders to Channel His Movement into Local Races
3 hours ago

Bernie Sanders said he'll begin pivoting his campaign to an organization designed to help candidates at the local level around the country. At a breakfast for the Wisconsin delegation to the DNC this morning, he said the new group will "bring people into the political process around a progressive agenda," as it supports candidates "running for school board, for city council, for state legislature."