My previous post assumed that Republican reluctance to raise the debt ceiling was rooted in either overaggressive negotiating strategy or fear of the Repubs’ own right wing. But I was insufficiently aware of another explanation.
Although rational experts agree almost unanimously that a failure to raise the debt ceiling would be economically catastrophic — and even a serious worry among investors that the debt ceiling might not be raised would set off a financial panic and multi-trillion-dollar selloff — the idea of raising the debt ceiling is powerfully unpopular with the U.S. public.
According to a fresh-out-out-this-morning Gallup Poll, by a wide 47-19 percent margin, Americans want their congressional representatives to vote against increasing the debt ceiling. (The missing 34 percent say they don’t know enough to have an opinion).
Among Republicans who say they do know enough to have an opinion, opposition to a debt ceiling hike is 70-8. Among independents, 46-15. By 33-26, a modest plurality of Democrats told Gallup they favored raising the debt ceiling.
A 57 percent majority say they are following the issue closely.