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Posted at 01:38 PM ET, 05/16/2011

Republicans, tea party less likely to see potential U.S. default as ‘disastrous’


Vice President Joe Biden meets with congressional Republicans and Democrats at the Blair House in Washington earlier this month in hopes of striking a deal on deficit reduction. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
On the same day that the U.S. reached its official debt limit, a Politico-George Washington University Battleground Poll released Monday shows that Republicans and “strong” tea-party supporters are less likely than Democrats and independents to view the result of a potential U.S. default on its debt as “disastrous.”

The results underscore the position of each side in the debate over raising the debt ceiling, on which the Treasury Department says Congress must act by Aug. 2 in order to avoid default. Congressional Republicans, who contend that any debt-limit vote must be accompanied by spending cuts and other reforms, have expressed some skepticism about the August deadline, while Democrats have pushed for a “clean” debt-limit vote without any conditions on spending reductions attached.

Fifty-six percent of all likely voters polled by Politico-GWU said they believe that not raising the debt ceiling “will be disastrous to the U.S. economy,” while 32 percent said it will not have a serious impact.

Among self-identifying Republicans, 49 percent said they believed consequences of default would be “disastrous” while 38 percent said the consequences would not be serious.

Voters who “strongly” identify with the tea-party movement were about evenly split on the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling, with 44 percent saying a default would not be serious and 43 percent saying it would be disastrous.

Meanwhile, 64 percent of Democrats said they believe a default would be disastrous while 27 percent said it would not be serious. Independents appear to be more closely aligned with Republicans than with Democrats in the debt-limit fight: 52 percent of independents polled by Politico-GWU said a default would be disastrous, compared with 34 who said it wouldn’t be serious.

The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted May 8-12 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

By  |  01:38 PM ET, 05/16/2011

 
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