Most Americans favor clean debt ceiling increase: poll

File: US President Joe Biden R and top Republican Kevin McCarthy during a meeting at the White House to discuss raising the debt limit

Most Americans favor a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling by itself without spending cuts tied to it, according to a new poll. 

An NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist national poll found 52 percent of respondents believe Congress should raise the debt ceiling to avoid the country potentially going into default and address any spending cuts separately, while 42 percent said the debt limit should only be raised if major spending cuts are included. 

Pollsters found a significant difference in preferences based on party, with 75 percent of Democrats wanting a clean bill and 65 percent of Republicans in support of only raising the debt ceiling with the cuts, even if it causes the U.S. to default. 

Almost half of independents said the debt ceiling should only be increased if spending cuts are tied to it. 

The Biden administration and congressional Democrats are in the midst of negotiations with congressional Republicans to develop an agreement to raise the debt limit. President Biden has pushed for a clean bill, while Republicans have insisted on major spending cuts in exchange for their votes to raise the ceiling. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has indicated that the country could default as soon as June 1 if the ceiling is not raised, but some Republicans have expressed skepticism about whether that is an exact date. 

The Biden administration has warned that a default could cause significant harm to the U.S. and world economy and send the country into a recession. 

Respondents were also split largely on party lines about who is to blame if the country does go into default, with 45 percent saying congressional Republicans would be mostly to blame and 43 percent saying Biden would be mostly to blame. 

Almost three-quarters of Republicans and half of independents would mostly blame Biden, and three-quarters of Democrats would mostly blame congressional Republicans. 

The poll was conducted from May 15 to 18 among 1,286 U.S. adults. The margin of error was 3.4 points.