WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - Two thirds of U.S. adult citizens are concerned that the U.S. government will default on its debt if the debt limit in the country is not raised, according to a recent poll. However, few Americans have a good understanding of ongoing debt negotiations.
A poll shows that about six in ten respondents want to see any debt limit increase accompanied by agreed-upon conditions for reducing the deficit in the federal budget. Americans are less likely to approve than disapprove of the way President Joe Biden, congressional negotiators from both sides of the aisle and the White House are handling the negotiations. Biden is still viewed as more favorable than congressional Republicans in the way he handled the situation.
The latest poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that 27% of respondents approve of Biden, 26% of them say they agree with congressional Democrats while 22% of respondents approve of congressional Republicans. Nearly half of respondents disapprove.
Robert Hutchins, 66 years old, says he is somewhat pleased with the way House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has handled negotiations in Congress.
McCarthy's leadership of his conference was praised by the Republican from Milton in Delaware as 'at least he is trying to do something'. The Democrats are looking to spend more and have no limit on it.
Hutchins stated that he has 'no confidence at all' in Biden, and does not believe in abolishing debt ceilings, since they serve as a constant reminder to the nation's debt, which is currently $31.4 trillion.
He said that if you don't, you'll think you're able to spend as much money as you like.
About 2 out of 10 U.S. adult citizens say that they follow the negotiations to raise the debt ceiling very or extremely closely. Another 4 in 10 adults are also following it somewhat closely. About 2/10 of Americans say that they are very familiar with the situation, and 4/10 say they have a good understanding.
A clear majority of 63% still believes that negotiations on the debt limit should include terms for reducing the deficit. 19% say that the debt limit shouldn't be increased and 16% don't think it should. Adults who claim to understand the debate the best are more likely to support raising the debt ceiling without conditions. 37% of them say this, while 50% say that it should be linked to terms regarding reducing the deficit.
A default could be catastrophic for the U.S. and global economy. It would also lead to a recession.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that a national bankruptcy would destroy businesses and jobs, and millions of families who rely upon federal payments will 'likely' go unpaid. This includes Social Security recipients, veterans, and military families.
A poll by AP and NORC conducted earlier in the year shows that there is little agreement on the cuts needed to reduce the deficit. While the majority of Americans believe the government spends far too much, they are more inclined to increase spending on expensive and popular programs such as Medicare and Social Security.
Republicans and Democrats both say that they understand and follow the negotiations. Concern about the economy in the event of a U.S. default is also widespread. About a third (33%) of Democrats believe that the national debt ceiling should be raised without conditions. Only 6% of Republicans agree.
23 percent of Republicans, but only 7% of Democrats, say that the debt ceiling should never be raised.
Aaron Loessberg Zahl, a 33 year old Democrat from San Jose in California, called the statutory borrowing limit 'arbitrary' and said that the debt ceiling could be raised without any conditions.
Loessberg Zahl stated that Congress already controls the pursestrings, as they approve our annual budgets.
He said the debate about raising the debt ceiling was 'not productive.' And he approved of the way the president handled the negotiations.
Loessberg Zahl stated, "My belief is that these people don't fully understand what would happen if a default were to occur.
The poll was conducted between May 11-15, using a probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel sample that is intended to be representative of U.S. adults. The margin of error for all respondents was plus or minus 3.4%.