Majority of voters would blame Biden for debt default: Poll

FILE – President Joe Biden walks to speak in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 11, 2023. One outcome is becoming clear as Biden and congressional leaders reach for a budget deal to end the debt ceiling standoff: The COVID-era big government spending, to halt the pandemic and rebuild in its aftermath, is giving way to a new fiscal focus on longer term investments and stemming deficits. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) Susan Walsh/AP

Majority of voters would blame Biden for debt default: Poll

Ryan King

May 25, 09:15 AM May 25, 09:15 AM

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If the United States defaults on its bills, a majority of voters will blame President Joe Biden more than congressional Republicans, according to a new poll.

Some 47% of respondents believe Biden would be more at fault if debt limit negotiation failures devolve into default, while 44% pointed the finger at Republicans, with 8% saying both would be to blame, a Fox News poll found. During the Obama administration, a similar poll found that the majority of people blamed Republicans for the debt standoff in 2011.


This finding echoes similar surveys indicating the public views Biden as more of the culprit than the GOP. A recent Economist/YouGov poll, for instance, determined 33% of voters hold Biden most responsible for the lack of a debt limit agreement, while 27% named House Republicans, 32% identified both, and 8% said neither.

A robust majority of voters, 63%, believe failure to raise the nation’s borrowing authority will have catastrophic repercussions for the nation, with 32% contending that was an exaggeration, per the Fox News poll.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has repeatedly warned that if no breakthrough is reached on the debt ceiling deadlock, the country will run out of cash to meet all of its bills as early as June 1. However, she has also hinted that the Treasury could attempt to prioritize spending.

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In the battle between Biden and Republicans, voters appear to side with the GOP. Fifty-seven percent of voters argued a debt ceiling increase should only occur if there are clawbacks in government spending, while 27% want an uptick no matter what, and 13% don’t want any increase at all.

Other polls have reached comparable conclusions. A recent CNN poll found that 60% of recipients only wanted a debt ceiling hike if it was paired with spending cuts, while 24% wanted a hike no matter what, and 15% said no raise.

“Even CNN’s poll shows that 60% of Americans want to raise the debt ceiling ONLY IF spending cuts are included. This is what Republicans have been pushing for from the start. Time for Dems to work with us to cut radical spending. It’s what the American people want,” House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) tweeted.

An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll appeared to contradict that finding, determining that 52% want an increase first followed by spending discussions later, while 42% wanted an uptick paired with spending cuts.

The White House has long demanded a stand-alone debt ceiling increase but has opted to negotiate spending provisions with Republicans, who have insisted the matters be coupled.

The Fox News poll was conducted from May 19 to 22 among 1,001 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Debt limit deliberations are expected to continue throughout the week. The Senate has been off on recess, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is weighing whether the lower chamber will break for Memorial Day week amid the impasse.

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