As Debt Ceiling Countdown Clock Ticks, Voters Say They’d Spread Blame for Default Among Both Parties Equally
As congressional Republicans dig in their heels on demands for spending cuts in exchange for raising the federal borrowing limit, and White House officials hold steady on their refusal to negotiate over raising the ceiling, a new Morning Consult/Politico survey finds a divided electorate that is more likely than not to blame both parties equally if a default occurs.
Voters Most Likely to Blame Both Parties Equally if Government Defaults on Its Debts
If the United States defaults on its debt, neither party will escape blame from voters
- Among all registered voters, a 37% plurality said they would blame both parties equally if the country were to default on its debt. Meanwhile, 30% said they would blame Democrats for a default, and 24% said Republicans would be at fault should the federal government fail to pay its bills.
- Voters’ attitudes on assigning blame to one party or the other now are virtually the same as they were during the debt ceiling standoff in October 2021, when 39% said they would blame both parties equally for a default.
- Meanwhile, 74% of voters said they are worried that the federal government could default on its debts, including nearly 4 in 5 Republicans.
1 in 3 Voters Want Congress to Raise Debt Ceiling Without Spending Cuts
No consensus among voters on where cuts should be made
- While many voters want to see some type of cuts to federal spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, no single option was more popular than making no cuts at all.
- Among Republican voters, cutting only non-defense spending was the most popular option (35%), while Democrats were most likely to say Congress should raise the debt ceiling without forcing any cuts to federal spending (35%).
- Voters also have split opinions on how well they personally grasp the debt ceiling negotiation talks taking place in Washington: 54% of voters said they understand the talks “somewhat” or “very” well, while 46% said they did not have a good understanding of the negotiations.
Months away from debt default, Republicans aren’t budging without federal spending cut agreement
The Bipartisan Policy Center adjusted its estimated “X date” — the date when the United States could be forced to default on some payments should Congress fail to pass legislation to increase the amount of money the federal government is allowed to borrow. BPC now estimates that the X date could arrive as early as this summer.
Republicans in Congress have floated initial plans for trimming the budget, but have yet to present a final proposal. The GOP is reportedly eyeing $150 billion in non-defense discretionary spending cuts, and while House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has vowed that cuts to Social Security and Medicare are off the table, some GOP lawmakers may still be targeting the programs.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she is willing to negotiate with Republicans over future spending cuts, but not as a condition for raising the debt ceiling. President Joe Biden used a speech in Virginia Beach to be less subtle on the matter, accusing Republicans of possibly causing an “economic catastrophe” in order to achieve their desired cuts.
The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted Feb. 24-26, 2023, among a representative sample of 2,009 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.