Washington Post’s Greg Sargent alerts usto a new WaPo/ABC poll that leads to a rather unprecedented conclusion — if there is a crisis over raising the debt ceiling, it’ll come because Republican voters overwhelmingly want that crisis. And they want it even knowing that it could have disastrous consequences.
The poll shows that overall, voters narrowly think, by a 46-43 margin, that Congress should raise the nation’s debt limit before a mid-October deadline — perhaps underestimating the consequences of the last near-crisis.
Democrats (62-31) and Independents (48-46) believe the debt ceiling should be raised. But Republicans (25-61) are about as heavily against doing so as Democrats are in favour of it.
This is despite the fact that the vast majority of Republicans — and the vast majority of Americans overall — believe that not raising the debt ceiling would “cause serious harm” to the U.S. economy. By a 66-27 split, Republicans are aware that failure to lift the nation’s borrowing limit could inflict serious consequences. Overall, 73% of Americans believe it will cause serious harm.
The poll is another sign of the overall confusion surrounding voters’ opinions on raising the debt ceiling. Last week, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll showed that 44% of Americans don’t believe that Congress should raise the debt ceiling, while only 22% said it should.
Economists agree that failure to raise the debt ceiling would be a catastrophe. And in addition to the stock-market plunge, credit-rating downgrade, and default, the costs of even a temporary delay are estimated at a whopping $US20 billion.
Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling by mid-October. Right now, House Speaker John Boehner is urging President Barack Obama to negotiate — something Obama says he won’t do.
Here’s a chart from Langer Research, which conducted the poll, that outlines where voters overall stand on raising the debt ceiling:
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