As Obama steps to the podium for his third press conference in two weeks, polls show the public widely concerned about the consequences of a default, but also troubled by the prospect of higher government spending if the debt limit is increased.

Dueling concerns over spending, default - A Post-Pew survey released Monday finds 74 percent of the public “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the economic consequences of default, but fully 78 percent are concerned about higher government spending if the debt limit is raised. Asked to choose among worries, slightly more Americans - 47 percent - say raising the debt limit is a greater concern, while 42 percent are most worried about not raising the debt ceiling.

Overall approval steady, but divided - Obama’s overall approval rating stands at the mid-to-upper 40s in recent polls, about even with his disapproval numbers. Obama clocks in at 44 percent approval in Gallup’s most recent tracking numbers, 49 and 47 percent in recent Ipsos-Reuters and Quinnipiac polls, the latter among registered voters.

Obama trumps GOP on economy - Obama has regained a narrow advantage over Republicans in trust to handle the economy in a new Quinnipiac poll, and registered voters say by 48 to 34 percent that Republicans in Congress would be to blame if the debt limit is not raised. Despite gaining a recent edge over the GOP, a consistent majority have disapproved of his handling of the economy, including 56 percent in the recent Quinnipiac poll and 52 percent in the CBS/NYT poll in late June.

Public skeptical of Obama on spending and taxes - Working against Obama, 42 percent of voters in the Quinnipiac poll - and 49 percent of independents - say Obama would cut “too little” government spending in combination with raising the debt ceiling, and four in 10 believe he would raise taxes too much.

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