Fixing The Budget Deficit: 88% Are Concerned, But No Consensus On The Debt Ceiling

June 20, 2011, 5:00 PM GMT+0

The budget deficit continues to worry Americans: in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, nearly nine in ten are concerned about it, with 61% saying they are VERY concerned. 

But proposals to vote on raising the debt ceiling, as Congress has done ten times in the last decade, don’t find easy acceptance with the public. Although one in five would raise the ceiling without any restrictions, more than that would vote to not raise it at all. And another minority would raise the ceiling only if cuts in spending were made at the same time.

The deficit may be something that is difficult for the average American to grapple with. Its enormous size, and the ability of the government to engage in deficit financing, is different from the way Americans must run their households. 41% want to balance the budget immediately, something that is probably impossible. In this poll, half the respondents were asked a version of the debt ceiling question that mentioned how often the ceiling had been raised in the past. The answers were similar in both cases. 

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