More Americans Than Not Oppose Raising the Debt Ceiling, Poll Finds

President Joe Biden talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo).
May 10, 2023

More Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling than are in favor of it, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll that comes as President Joe Biden insists Congress should raise the debt limit with no commitments to cut spending.

Forty-five percent of those asked said they oppose lifting the debt ceiling while 44 percent said they favor lifting it, which would allow Congress to avoid defaulting on the country's debt. Around three out of four Republicans oppose lifting the debt limit, and the same amount of Democrats support it. 

The large opposition to raising the limit could give House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) and congressional Republicans leverage needed in their ongoing battle with Biden over the nation’s debt. Republicans are demanding cuts to federal spending before they agree to raise the debt limit. The United States hit its $31.4 trillion borrowing limit in January, and the Biden administration claims the country could run out of funds as soon as June 1 if Congress doesn't come to an agreement. 

McCarthy met Tuesday with Biden, who the House speaker said is unwilling to budge in negotiations on the debt limit. "Is it too much to ask that we spend what we spent five months ago?" McCarthy said at a press conference after the meeting. 

The meeting was the first time the two parties met to discuss the debt limit. Biden spent months refusing to meet with McCarthy to discuss Republicans' desire to reign in federal spending. Biden has said he wants Congress to pass a "clean" debt ceiling hike without limiting or capping federal spending.

The Journal poll queried 1,500 registered voters from April 11 to 17.