A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Wednesday reveals that a majority of Republicans who know that not raising the debt ceiling will seriously harm the economy still don’t want to see it raised.
The poll finds that Americans are almost evenly split: 46 percent want Congress to raise the debt limit “so the government can keep paying its bills and obligations,” while 43 percent want Congress “not to raise the debt limit and let the government default on paying its bills and obligations.”
However, 73 percent of people surveyed said they believe that not raising the debt limit would “cause serious harm to the U.S. economy.” Among Republicans who believe that not raising the debt limit would seriously impact the economy, 53 percent still say it should not be raised anyway.
—Republicans are far more likely to oppose raising the debt limit than anyone else; they say “don’t raise it” by 61-25. By contrast, Dems say “raise it “by 62-31, and independents split by 48-46 on raising versus not raising it.
—Republicans, however, also believe overwhelmingly that not raising it would cause serious economic harm — by 66-27. (Dems and indies tilt the same way.)
—How to square that? Simple: Among Republicans who believe not raising it would cause serious economic harm, a majority say “don’t raise it” by 53-32.
By contrast, among Americans overall who say not raising it would cause serious harm, they tilt in favor of raising it by 54-35. Independents who say not raising it would cause serious harm also tilt in favor of raising it by 58-36.
House leaders John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA), accompanied by their enthusiastic conservative colleagues, have said that they are willing to raise the debt ceiling if Obamacare is delayed another year, among other demands. On Thursday, Speaker Boehner, who recently criticized President Obama for not “negotiating” with Republicans, affirmed that he would not go to the White House for any negotiations. He even seemed surprised by the suggestion that he would do his part in negotiating, saying: “Whoa, I’m not doing that. I’m not doing that.”
If not raising the debt ceiling represents another way of stalling a necessary process, Republicans are merely doing what they do best.
The poll was conducted by telephone from September 12-15 and surveyed 1,004 people. It has a margin of error +/- 4 points.
Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com