The results of a new Gallup Poll will cause heartburn for the Obama administration. By a margin of 47 percent to 19 percent, Americans say they would want their member of Congress to vote against raising the U.S. debt ceiling (34 percent don’t know enough to say).
By party affiliation, Republicans oppose raising the debt ceiling by 70 percent to 8 percent. Independents oppose it by 46 percent to 15 percent. And by only 33 percent to 26 percent do Democrats favor raising the ceiling .
In addition, Gallup reports, Americans are more likely to oppose than favor raising the debt ceiling, regardless of how closely they are following the news about the issue. Among the 23 percent who are following the debt-ceiling discussion very closely, 62 percent are opposed and 25 percent are in favor of raising the current ceiling. Among those who are following the issue less closely, opposition outnumbers support by at least a 2-to-1 margin.
Earlier this year The Hill reported that only 27 percent of Americans want to raise the debt ceiling while 62 percent oppose it.
When all is said and done, the debt ceiling will be raised because it must be raised. But the public is in no mood to raise it. And if it is raised, the polling data shows that by overwhelming numbers (on the order of nine-to-one) the American people want substantial spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. Which means Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell have extraordinary leverage over the president, who will suffer more than anyone if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.
For years votes raising the debt ceiling went virtually unnoticed. This year it may reshape America’s fiscal situation. It’s going to be fascinating to see how all this unfolds—and how much President Obama bends to the will of the GOP. My guess is it will be quite a lot.