Republican leaders in Congress have drawn a hard line that spending cuts are essential to any legislative deal to raise the debt ceiling. Republicans in a Washington Post-ABC News poll, however, are divided on the issue: 48 percent say any increase in the debt limit should be tied to cuts, while nearly as many, 45 percent, say that the two issues should be isolated, discrete issues.

The general public sides with Obama on this question: 58 percent say cuts should be a separate matter, and 36 percent say they should be knotted with the borrowing limit. Obama also has the trust edge here: 49 percent say they have more confidence in him to handle the issue, compared with 35 percent who put more faith in the GOP.

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