A significant majority of registered voters are opposed to raising the debt ceiling, a measure that would allow the U.S. government to pay all its bills and prevent a possible default.
According to a Morning Consult-Politico poll released Thursday, 57 percent of registered voters oppose a debt ceiling increase, while just 20 percent support it. Another 22 percent said they don’t know or have no opinion.
The feelings were stronger among Republicans, 64 percent of whom do not Congress to raise the limit, as opposed to 59 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats.
The poll, which was conducted among a national sample of 2051 registered voters from June 15 to 19 and had a margin of error of 2 percentage points, may complicate efforts for lawmakers to pass the measure, which economists say is essential to prevent a financial or economic crisis.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has urged Congress to deal with the limit before the August recess but said the administration could stretch its funds until September if necessary.
During the Obama administration, congressional Republicans sought to use the debt ceiling vote as an opportunity to pass reforms or policy riders. Many hope to do the same under President Trump, but there is disagreement over what is achievable within the party, especially given the need for some Democratic support to pass the measure.
Popular opposition to raising the debt ceiling is not new.
A 2011 poll conducted for The Hill found 62 percent of likely voters — as opposed to the broader category of registered voters in the recent poll — opposed a debt ceiling lift, while 27 percent supported it.
Another poll that year, which looked at all American adults, found 47 percent opposed raising the debt ceiling while 19 percent supported it.
When the issue came up again in 2013, a YouGov-Huffington Post poll found that many Americans didn’t fully understand what the debt ceiling was, though 51 percent expressed some level of confidence that they did.
Only 42 percent correctly identified that raising the debt ceiling would allow the U.S. to pay debts on already-approved spending, and 44 percent knew that raising it would be required to prevent an economic crisis.
An NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll around that time found that 44 percent of all Americans opposed raising debt ceiling.