House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has consistently outmaneuvered Democrats. President Joe Biden has been backed into a corner and seems unable to get out the way the Democrats had planned. Thanks to McCarthy’s skillful maneuvering Biden has encountered a series of setbacks as he and the White House strive to demonstrate competence and strength during debt ceiling negotiations.
Adding to Biden’s challenges, a recent poll now reveals that more Americans would blame him for a default rather than McCarthy or congressional Republicans. The survey, conducted by Fox News with guidance from Beacon Research and Shaw and Company Research, indicates that Biden has lost the messaging battle regarding the debt limit. Americans no longer believe his narrative.
Biden’s initial stance that a bill raising the debt ceiling should exclude spending cuts was the excuse he used to abstain from engaging in talks with Speaker McCarthy for over two months. However, when McCarthy managed to pass the Limit, Save, Grow Act, he accomplished something many Democrats believed him incapable of accomplishing, and by doing so, he put the ball back in Biden’s hands. Biden can no longer blame a default on the Republicans. Most Americans are opposed to Biden’s plan and, according to the poll, are sliding with Republicans on this matter.
The Fox News Poll shows that 57 percent of Americans believe the debt limit should only be increased if spending cuts are included. In contrast, only 27 percent support raising the debt ceiling without additional requirements, and 13 percent advocate for not increasing the debt limit, resulting in a default.
Should the United States default on its debt before reaching a deal to raise the debt ceiling—bearing in mind that House Republicans have already passed a bill to prevent a default—more Americans would blame President Biden than the Republicans in Congress, with a margin of 47 percent to 44 percent. Eight percent of Americans mentioned that they would hold both parties responsible if a default were to occur.
It should also be noted that the dynamics of this debt ceiling battle differ significantly from the previous one. In 2011, a Fox News survey asked Americans whom they would blame for a default: then-President Obama or congressional Republicans. The results showed that 47 percent blamed the GOP, while 32 percent held Obama responsible.
These findings indicate that President Biden and the White House, despite enjoying support from the mainstream media, major tech companies, and many of America’s cultural institutions, have failed to maintain the narrative advantage they had hoped for on the debt ceiling issue. The situation has become so dire within the West Wing that Biden’s aides have been expressing dissatisfaction with the mainstream media’s alleged failure to present the debt limit situation in a manner favorable to the president.
Adding to Biden’s woes as he looks ahead to 2024, the Fox News poll also reveals that 44 percent of Americans perceive the president as “corrupt,” 53 percent believe he “doesn’t care” about Americans, and 57 percent consider him to be “dishonest and untrustworthy.” Regarding his overall job performance, 59 percent of Americans believe Biden lacks the “judgment to effectively serve as president,” and 60 percent think he lacks “the mental capacity” to fulfill his duties as commander in chief.