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)

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.