• Polling

Delays in Individual Benefits Seen As Reason To Support Raising The Debt Ceiling

Friday, October 28, 2022 By Bryan Bennett
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Welcome to NAVIGATOR – a project designed to better understand the American public’s views on issues of the day and help advocates, elected officials, and other interested parties understand the language, imagery, and messaging needed to make and win key policy arguments.

Key takeaways

  • Jobs and the economy, inflation, and abortion are Americans’ top issues in thinking about voting in 2022: Biden and Democrats are more trusted on abortion though Republicans lead on the economy and inflation.
  • Most people say gas prices are going up, but they blame supply chain issues, oil and gas companies, and Putin and Russia most for the increase.
  • The top reason to raise the debt ceiling is to protect Social Security payments and other payments like veterans’ benefits; Republicans withholding these payments are seen as “hurting the American people.”

Americans Remain Negative on the Economy Amidst Growing Pessimism About Personal Finances

Four in five Americans rate the national economy negatively (79%) and 64% say they are uneasy about their personal financial situation.

  • Four in five independents (84%) rate the economy negatively and 64% say they are uneasy about their personal finances.

Inflation, Economy, Abortion, Immigration Top Priorities; Since Dobbs, Biden & Congress Seen as Most Focused on Abortion

While most Americans want a focus on inflation and the economy, they see Biden and Congress focused on abortion and student loans.

  • Among independents, while 62% want a focus on inflation, just 26% see Biden and Congress as focused on it.

On Top Issues, Democrats More Trusted on Abortion and Social Security & Medicare, Republicans on Economy and Inflation

Among independents, Biden and Democrats hold advantages on abortion (+21), health care (+12), and Social Security/Medicare (+16), while Republicans hold advantages on inflation (+21 Republicans), crime (+18), and immigration (+10).

There Has Been Mild Improvement in Views of Gas Prices Since Early October, Though Many Americans Still Feel They Are High

A majority of Americans (55%) say the price of gas is “going up a lot,” though down slightly from 60% in early October.

  • The share who say they are “paying a lot more” for gas has fallen by 8 points since earlier this month (from 39% to 31%).

Supply Chain Issues, Oil and Gas Companies, and Putin and Russia Most to Blame on Gas Prices

Democrats and independents are most likely to blame supply chain issues (74% and 63%, respectively), oil and gas companies (82% and 67%), and Putin and Russia (73% and 60%); Republicans blame Biden and Democrats (85%) and supply chain issues (63%).

Inflation Reduction Act Remains Overwhelmingly Popular Though Slightly Fewer Are Hearing About It

A majority of independents (56%) and nearly two in five Republicans (37%) support the Inflation Reduction Act.

Top Consequences of Failing to Raise Debt Ceiling: Delays for Social Security Payments/Veterans’ Benefits, Job Losses

Democrats, independents, and Republicans all see a delay in Social Security payments as most concerning overall, as do white Americans. AAPI and Black Americans are most concerned about job loss, while Hispanic Americans are most worried about interest rates increasing.

Winning Messages on Debt Ceiling Are Focused on Consequences, Not Process

The strongest message against a conservative criticism of raising the debt ceiling focuses on consequences of delayed payments of Social Security, veterans’ benefits, and other government programs (net +12 agree) – not process arguments.

GOP Not Raising Debt Ceiling Seen as “Hurting the American People”

There is bipartisan opposition to not raising the debt ceiling in order to make cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Canceling a Portion of Student Loan Debt Remains Popular

Majorities of those who currently have student loan debt (81%), who had debt but paid it off (55%), and who never had debt (52%) all support the plan. Inclusion of the $20,000 in cancellations for Pell Grant recipients drives support up to net +29 overall.

Two in Five Eligible Americans Have Applied for Student Loan Forgiveness; Process Overwhelmingly Viewed Positively

An additional 48% say they plan to apply for forgiveness; for the 38% of student loan debt holders who have already applied, nearly all say the process of applying has been positive.

After Messaging on Inflation Reduction Act, Student Debt, and Debt Ceiling, Economic Trust in Biden and Democrats Increases

Trust in Biden and the Democratic Party to handle “jobs and the economy” over the Republican Party increases by 7 points after exposure to Inflation Reduction Act, student loan debt, and debt ceiling messaging: greatest increases come from lower-income Democrats (+13 improvement in net support), higher-earning Republicans (+12), and Hispanics (+13).

About The Study

Global Strategy Group conducted public opinion surveys among a sample of 1,000 registered voters from October 20-October 24, 2022. 100 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 78 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 104 additional interviews were conducted among independent voters.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org