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The U.S. government is approaching the brink of debt default within weeks, barring a significant shift in negotiations. President Biden, by recent indications, is committed to striking a deal with House Republicans to raise the debt ceiling rather than more unilateral measures like invoking the 14th Amendment or minting a trillion-dollar coin. Meanwhile, Treasury Department Secretary Janet Yellen reaffirmed on Monday that the U.S. will run out of funds to pay its bills “by early June, and potentially as early as June 1.”
CivicScience has been tracking public concern and expectations for the debt ceiling crisis over time. Consistent with the approaching deadline, U.S. adults are currently more concerned about the government defaulting on its debt than they were in either of the past two weeks (with the percentage reporting to be ‘very concerned’ remaining stagnant from last week).
According to CivicScience tracking earlier this month, Republicans were much likelier to express high concern about the federal deficit itself, with Democrats much likelier to report stronger concerns about a government shutdown.
But on a more granular level, Democrats are just slightly more likely than Republicans to express overall concern for the possibility of a debt default, and concern has grown for members of both parties throughout the past month. Over the past week, a striking 60% of U.S. adults responded it’s at least ‘somewhat likely’ the government will default on its debt. But dating back to earlier in May, Republicans are slightly more likely to think the government will default on its debt.
While both sides of the aisle are surely split on the debt limit fight and its broader implications, a strong majority of each party is concerned about the fallout of a potential debt default. CivicScience will continue to monitor sentiment shifts in the coming weeks.