• Polling

Nearly Two in Three Americans Support Canceling Some Student Loan Debt

Thursday, February 17, 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
  • Majorities support canceling a portion of student loan debt, including those who have never had any student loan debt.
  • The strongest messaging lanes on canceling student loan debt are the current costs of getting a college education and circumstantial factors like the pandemic and inflation.
  • Canceling at least a portion of student loan debt increases the view Biden is keeping his campaign promises.

Two in Five Have or Have Had Student Loan Debt; One in Five Currently Have Student Loan Debt

Democrats (43% have/have had student loan debt), 18-44 year-olds (41%), 45-64 year-olds (46%), Black Americans (46%), and AAPI (50%) are most likely to have or have had student loan debt.

  • More than one in four 18-44 year-olds report currently having student loan debt.

Canceling Some Student Loan Debt Has Broad-Based Support Across Ages, Races, Partisanship, and Debt Status

Three in five Americans support canceling at least a portion of student loan debt, including 55% of those who have never had any student loan debt and 89% of those who currently have student loan debt. Three in five independents (59%) support.

Rising Costs and Circumstantial Factors Like the Pandemic and Inflation Are Best Reasons to Cancel Student Loan Debt

Overall, college being “incredibly expensive” and referring to inflation and the pandemic are the strongest messaging lanes.

  • Roughly three in five of those who do not and have never had student loan debt say each message is convincing.

Canceling a Portion of Federal Student Loan Debt Increases Perception Biden Has Kept Campaign Promises

The greatest increases in perceptions that Biden has kept his campaign promises occur among Democrats (+7), Republicans (+11), white Americans (+10), and those who currently have student loan debt (+11).

About The Study

This release features findings from national online surveys of 1,000 registered voters conducted February 3-7, 2022. Additional interviews were conducted among 101 Hispanic voters, 99 African American voters, 100 independents without a partisan lean, and 78 Asian American and Pacific Islander 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