The Treasury Department has said Congress needs to raise the ceiling before Oct. 17 to assure that the United States has enough money to pay its obligations. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said the government would be left with $30 billion in reserves after the deadline. And experts have said the government could deplete those funds before the end of the month.
A growing number of conservative Republicans have begun to argue that not raising the debt ceiling would not necessarily lead to default, arguing that the government could prioritize its payments to ensure that it pays interest on the debt.
But the Obama administration has said prioritization is unworkable, and it would be default by another name.
“If you pay some of your bills but not all your bills, you're in default on the bills you don't pay – period,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday.
Other polls have found the public believes breaching the debt ceiling would be bad for the nation.
A Pew poll released Monday that surveyed national adults found 47 percent believe it is absolutely essential to raise the debt ceiling in order to avoid a crisis. And a CNN/ORC poll from last week found that 56 percent of people think not raising the ceiling is a bad thing.
The Fox News poll surveyed 952 registered voters and has a 3 percentage point margin of error.