Pew: Public Divided on Significance of August 2 Debt Limit Deadline, Potential Consequences

According to a July 15-17 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, the public is divided on the importance of the August 2 deadline to raise the debt limit. Forty percent of those polled say that - based on what they've read and heard - it is "absolutely essential that the federal debt limit be raised by Aug. 2 to avoid an economic crisis," but 39% believe the deadline could come and go "without major economic problems."

Opinions on the subject are correlated to partisan affiliation: while 53% of Republicans believe the deadline could pass without major problems and 30% take the opposite opinion, the percentages are reversed among Democrats; 56% of Democrats believe raising the debt limit is essential, while only 28% do not. A plurality of independents (43%) say the deadline could pass without major economic problems. Republicans who agree with the Tea Party were most likely (65%) to say the deadline could pass without major problems. Interestingly, "the degree of attention to this issue has only a modest relationship with peoples’ impressions of the seriousness of the Aug. 2 deadline." Both those who are following the issue closely and those who are following it less closely are divided on the importance of the deadline.

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SSDAN Office

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