Fifty-two percent of the public believes lawmakers will raise the limit within the next two days, according to a new Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday. Forty-four percent are not as confident.
Members of Congress have until Oct. 17 to raise the ceiling, otherwise the Treasury Department loses its authority to borrow money and pay the government's bills.
As the deadline rapidly approaches, House and Senate lawmakers on Tuesday were still working to reach a compromise. Senate leaders proposed one plan, but the House appeared to float another that was similar but included more caveats.
Some of Congress’s most conservative members have downplayed the aftermath if the ceiling is not raised. Tea Party Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulCongress must reform civil asset forfeiture laws ObamaCare fix hinges on Medicaid clash in Senate A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-Ky.) said over the weekend, “There’s no reason for us to default.”
Two-thirds of Democrats, on the other hand, argue it's essential to increase the limit, the poll says.
President Obama has warned a default would collapse the already fragile economy recovering from the 2008 recession.
Despite the threats, only 51 percent of people view raising the limit as “absolutely essential,” according to the Pew poll. Thirty-six percent are on Paul’s side, claiming the country can go past the deadline without any major problems.
Democrats are more optimistic than Republicans that a deal will be reached to avert defaulting. Almost 60 percent of Democrats compared to about 50 percent in the GOP believe lawmakers will find a solution.