Three in four Americans worry debt-ceiling default could hurt them: Reuters/Ipsos poll

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans are worried about the prospect of the U.S. government defaulting if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, but are divided over the action to be taken, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Monday.


The polls show neither Democratic President Joe Biden nor congressional Republicans hold a clear advantage in public opinion as they head into discussions on Tuesday to resolve a months-long standoff over the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt limit.

The Treasury says it could run out of money to pay the country’s bills as soon as June 1 unless Congress increases the borrowing cap. Economists say the resulting default would roil global financial markets and plunge the U.S. into recession.

The poll found that 76% of Americans said the two sides must reach a deal because a default would put added financial stress on families like theirs. That included 84% of self-described Democrats and 77% of self-described Republicans.

Only 29% said they thought the issue was being overblown.

The survey found that Americans are split over the best way to resolve a showdown.

Some 49% said Congress needs to quickly raise the debt ceiling without conditions to avert default, echoing Biden’s position.

Some 68% of Democrats and 39% of Republicans took that view.

But 51% of Americans said the debt ceiling should not be raised without substantial spending cuts – the position held by Republicans who hold a majority in the House of Representatives.

That view was held by 69% of Republicans and 42% of Democrats, the poll found.

The online poll of 4,415 U.S. adults was conducted between May 9 and May 15. It has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Howard Goller)