NY Times Poll: People Prefer Default to Increasing the Debt Limit Without Cuts
by John Sexton 26 Sep 2013
I was reading through the NY Times poll results published yesterday when I came across this surprising response to question 43. Here is the full question:
43. As you may know, there is a debate in Washington about raising the federal debt ceiling, which is the amount of money that the federal government can borrow to pay its bills. Which of these comes closest to your feelings about raising the debt ceiling now? 1. It should be raised without conditions, because the government must pay its existing bills and obligations; OR 2. It should be raised, but only with the condition that the government also cuts spending to offset it; OR 3. It should not be raised under any condition even if that means the U.S. could default on its loans and obligations.
Here are the results for each of those three options:
Raised without conditions - 17
Raised with spending cuts - 55
Not raised - 24
Don't Know - 4
As you can see, not raising the debt limit, even with the explicit possibility of default, is more popular than raising it without conditions, 24-17. People would rather go over the cliff than get nothing.
But the big majority of people in the middle want cuts to offset any increase in the limit. In other words, a majority expect Democrats to cut a deal. It's clear elsewhere in the poll that the public does not support tying an increase to a repeal of Obamacare, but most do want something back.
Given the overwhelming numbers, Democrats may find that comparing possible concessions to hostage-taking or suicide bombing is not going to go over well with the majority of the electorate.