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Poll: More Fear Higher Debt Than Default

From a concerned (at the lack of fear) Washington Post:

Poll: More Americans fear higher national debt than default

By Lori Montgomery and Peyton M. Craighill
Published: May 24, 2011

The debate over whether to raise the legal limit on government borrowing has riveted Americans, with a large majority worried about the potential consequences regardless of whether Congress votes to allow the national debt to keep increasing.

But when pressed to name their biggest concern, nearly half of respondents say they are alarmed by the prospect that the debt could grow beyond its current limit of $14.3 trillion, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll. Only 35 percent say they are more worried about the risk of default and economic destabilization if Congress does not raise the debt limit.

At first we thought something must have gone horribly wrong in their polling. But then we realized that this is intended to be a warning to the news media that they have to work harder to ratchet up more fear about the possibilities of a government default.

The tip off is that Pew has actually sampled their respondents somewhat fairly, for once. Of the 1,004 people queried, the party affiliation breaks down as: Republicans 279, Democrats 313, Independents 318. Though we still believe that Independents are really just thinly disguised Democrats.

So the Washington Post and Pew aren’t trying to drive the agenda here. They are trying to warn the rest of the news media that they need to ratchet up their fearmongering or the Democrats might lose the debt ceiling debate.]

The poll vividly illustrates the dilemma facing lawmakers as they approach an Aug. 2 deadline on the debt ceiling. While congressional leaders in both parties have acknowledged that the Treasury needs to keep borrowing to pay the government’s bills, lawmakers are likely to face voters’ wrath if they can’t prove that they are also working to rein in the spiraling debt.

Notice that the use of the word debt here, when the real problem is "spiraling spending." Still, once again they drive the message home. The voters have to be re-educated about the dangers of default.

On Tuesday, Vice President Biden emerged from a fourth round of debt-reduction talks with six lawmakers from both parties and announced that the group is on pace to reach an agreement on more than $1 trillion in spending cuts, part of a package aimed at smoothing passage of a debt-limit increase.

“I think we’re in a position where we’ll be able to get to well above $1 trillion [in cuts] pretty quick,” Biden told reporters after meeting with lawmakers for 21 / 2 hours at the Capitol.

In other words, the Democrats are willing to say they will meet the Republicans half way. (The GOP leadership has been calling for at least $2 trillion in cuts.) So the internal polls must be looking quite bad for them on this issue.

Of course Mr. Obama is already planning to cut the Pentagon’s budget by $800 billion dollars. So this is not really that much of a compromise.

The group agreed earlier this month to look more closely at proposed cuts, worth nearly $200 billion over the next decade, to a variety of programs. On Tuesday, it dove into the more contentious question of whether to cut Medicare and Medicaid, the biggest drivers of future borrowing — a top GOP priority. In return, however, Biden said he will insist that Republicans back down on their opposition to new taxes.

“Revenues are going to have to be in the deal,” he said

They will say anything, promise anything, to get more tax increases. Trying to reason with Democrats about taxes is like trying to reason with a drug addict about his drugs.

For now, a wide swath of the public remains confused about the debt-limit debate, with nearly half — 48 percent — saying they don’t understand the consequences of congressional inaction. Half of those surveyed say they do have a good grasp of the consequences, however, and that knowledge appears to affect their opinion about whether Congress should act.

Among those who believe they are well-informed, 52 percent say they worry more about Congress raising the limit and permitting additional borrowing. By comparison, 37 percent worry more about the possibility of default. Those who consider themselves less well-informed are more evenly split, with 45 percent more worried about borrowing and 34 percent more concerned about default.

Isn’t it odd that the Washington Post would choose to bring up how well the respondents understand the problem. When has the media ever done that on a poll about ‘Medicare reform,’ for instance?

But, again, they are laying out the task before the news media. And they only have ten weeks to get our minds right.

The partisan divides are even more dramatic. Republicans are more than twice as likely — 60 percent to 25 percent — to say their bigger fear is that raising the debt limit would lead to more spending. Democrats split 48 percent to 38 percent the other way, with default as their greater concern.

Independents — crucial to the reelection prospects of as many as a dozen Senate Democrats, as well as President Obama — tend to side with Republicans. Among independents, 49 percent say they worry more about additional debt, while 34 percent say their bigger fear is the risk of default

Once again, it’s clear what the Washington Post and Pew want to accomplish with this poll. This is meant as a warning to the rest of the media. They had better roll up their sleeves and get to work.

The fear isn’t going to monger itself.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Poll: More Fear Higher Debt Than Default”

  1. Chase says:

    “I think we’re in a position where we’ll be able to get to well above $1 trillion [in cuts] pretty quick,” Biden

    Are these real cuts, or paper cuts, like we saw on the eve of the last threat of a shutdown? I don’t trust any of them, and I don’t trust them to last.

  2. River0 says:

    It’s really sad, how economically illiterate Americans are. Default would be catastrophic, leading to a REAL depression. Trust in the dollar and our economy would vanish, and would take years to recover. We MUST make cuts, and extend the debt ceiling only as absolutely necessary. John Boehner’s formula of cuts equal to debt ceiling extensions is sound.

    Comparing government monetary affairs to a household are not always valid, in this case it is. Which would be better for a family, bankruptcy – which destroys your credit for seven years – or loan extensions based on budget cuts?

    If we just went back to 2008 federal budget perameters, we’d be managing things a lot more competently and getting back on track.

  3. tranquil.night says:

    There is no threat of a default. The regime has it’s own ways of maintaining cash flows, but they’re more interruptive and damaging than broad and pre-planned cuts, which means that the Republicans are taking the blame from all the extraordinary measures as they increase over time we’ve passed the debt limit.

    Of course it’s very easy to counter that all the current pain is a direct result of Democrats not being willing to haggle over their protected welfare class, but we don’t have a unified and aggressive centralized party leadership in control of their narrative atm.

  4. proreason says:

    good analysis Steve.

    Polls aren’t polls at all, other than the final one before a major election when the pollsters attempt to affirm their “reputations” by conducting their very rare honest surveys.

    All other polls are either propaganda, warning shots, hammers or diversionary tactics.

  5. Gladius et Scutum says:

    I should expect nothing or worse from these “debt reduction” talks. Look who POTUS left to handle it! Like Osama Bin Laden, you, I, and everyone in Washington, knows that Joe Biden doesn’t matter.

  6. Liberals Demise says:

    Know what I fear most?
    Over a year and a half left for the houseboy to continue his purge of our way of life.
    This arrogant POS thinks he will get another 4 years……not on my watch!!

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