Fox News Poll: Majority Says Debt Ceiling Only Rises With Spending Cuts


With less than two weeks to go before a possible national debt default, a majority of registered voters say raising the debt ceiling should only come with spending cuts, and two-thirds believe that failure to raise this limit will result in financial disaster. This is a complete reversal from 12 years ago during the last debt ceiling crisis.

According to the latest Fox News poll, 63% think failing to raise the debt ceiling will create financial disaster for America, while a third (32%) say that’s an exaggeration. In July 2011, 39% felt disaster was on the horizon while 55% felt it was an over-prediction.

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Fox News poll on whether Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling. (FoxNews)

The change can be attributed to bipartisan majorities who now agree that a default would be catastrophic. At 74%, Democrats are among the most affected, a 28 percentage point increase since 2011, while more than half of Republicans (53%) and independents (57%) now say a default would be disastrous (up 22 and 17 points respectively from more than a decade ago).

Fox News Poll: Majority Says Debt Ceiling Only Rises With Spending Cuts

Fox News poll if Congress fails to raise debt ceiling, among political affiliations. (FoxNews)

On debt negotiations, a majority of 57% say the increase should only happen if there are cuts in public spending, while 27% think the increase should happen what let it happen. Thirteen percent would leave the default country.

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Fox News Poll: Majority Says Debt Ceiling Only Rises With Spending Cuts

Fox News poll on whether Congress should raise the debt limit. (FoxNews)

Majorities of Republicans (72%) and independents (57%) think Congress should only raise the debt ceiling if spending cuts are made. Democrats won’t reach a majority on either option: 47% say a raise without further cuts, 42% want a raise with cuts and 7% say let the nation default.

Fox News Poll: Majority Says Debt Ceiling Only Rises With Spending Cuts

Fox News Poll on Debt Limit. (FoxNews)

On Sunday, at the G7 summit in Japan, Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked President Biden if he would be “faultless in a default situation.” Biden replied, “On merits based on what I offered, I would be blameless. On politics, no one would be blameless.”

Still, voters are slightly more likely to blame Biden than congressional Republicans if they fail to reach a deal (47% vs. 44%). Three-quarters of Republicans, half of independents and nearly one in five Democrats would blame the president. In 2011, 32% said they would blame former President Obama if the crisis worsened while 47% would point the finger at congressional Republicans.

Fox News Poll: Majority Says Debt Ceiling Only Rises With Spending Cuts

Fox News Poll on Debt Limit. (FoxNews)

“Americans have come to understand that there will be no winners in a default situation,” said Democratic pollster Chris Anderson, who leads the Fox News survey with Republican Daron Shaw. “But they also came to believe there should be conditions, which means Republican leaders established their right to negotiate on something that Biden, and history, has pointed to as non-negotiable.”

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Political divisions across the country remain a top concern among the electorate (79%), but the issue of the debt ceiling is starting to find its place as a broader concern – and the increase in concern is almost entirely driven by Democrats.

In January, 68% of voters were concerned about the debt ceiling debate, it’s now 75%. Meanwhile, concern has risen 12 points among Democrats.

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Conducted May 19-22, 2023, co-led by Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News poll includes interviews with 1,001 randomly selected registered voters nationwide in an electoral register and spoke live with pollsters on landlines and cellphones. The total sample has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.


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