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44% Say Cutting Inessential Services Would Prevent Debt Default

 

UTICA, New York - Nearly two-thirds of likely voters oppose Congress raising the debt ceiling, but 55% say the next Congress will vote to raise it despite the opposition. More than 80% believe that if the debt ceiling is not raised, the federal government would cut services and be able to avoid default on the debt.

Those results come from a Zogby Interactive poll of likely voters conducted from Nov. 12-15, 2010.

The most recent increase in the U.S. debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion was signed into law last February. A Congressional vote on raising it again is anticipated sometime early in the next Congressional session. Some newly elected Republican members have said they will oppose another increase.

Do you agree that the next U.S. Congress should raise the debt ceiling.

Response

All Voters

Republicans

Democrats

Independents

Strongly + Somewhat Agree

26%

11%

45%

23%

Strongly + Somewhat Disagree

64%

82%

42%

71%

Not Sure

9%

7%

14%

6%

Totals may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

 

Strong disagreement was the most frequent response at 46%. Opinion on this question was consistent across all major demographic groups except political party and ideology.  Specifically, 56% of liberals support raising the debt ceiling and 86% of conservatives and 59% of moderates oppose it.

Which of the following statements is closest to what you believe is most likely to happen if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling?

Statement

All Voters

Republicans

Democrats

Independents

The government defaults on debt, and endangers world economy.

18%

14%

24%

14%

The government cuts essential services in order not to default on debt.

28%

22%

34%

28%

The government cuts inessential services in order not to default on debt.

44%

55%

29%

49%

Other or Not Sure

10%

8%

13%

9%

Totals may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

 

As in the prior question, the only significant demographic differences were political party and ideology. Both moderates (42%) and conservatives (60%) were most likely to believe cutting inessential services would prevent debt default. Liberals (43%) were most likely to believe cutting essential services would be necessary to avoid default.

Voters were also asked how likely different ideological factions would be to vote against raising the debt ceiling. Small majorities (51%) say it is likely Tea Party Republicans will vote against and liberal Democrats (52%) would vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling.  Opinion was divided as to how so-called Blue Dog Democrats and moderate Republicans would vote.

Pollster John Zogby: "While the national debt may not rank as high in voters' priorities as creating jobs, voters strongly oppose raising the debt ceiling and nearly one-half believe that just cutting inessential government services can avoid the need to raise the ceiling and risk default. However, one voter's idea of an inessential government service might be very essential to another. So the 55% of voters who think Congress will raise the debt ceiling are probably correct."

The interactive poll consisting of 2,062 likely voters was conducted from Nov. 12-15, 2010, and has a margin of error of +/-2.2%.  A sampling of Zogby International's online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the U.S., was invited to participate.  Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, gender, and education to more accurately reflect the population.

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