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50% Recognize Official Debt Ceiling Figures Understate the Problem

Voters aren’t sure about the short-term implications of the debt ceiling debate, but they recognize that the official figures understate the magnitude of the problem.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 38% of Likely Voters nationwide correctly believe that raising the debt ceiling will let the government fund spending levels that have already been approved by Congress. Thirty-two percent (32%) believe that it will authorize the federal government to spend more money, while 30% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

At the same time, 50% realize that the official debt ceiling of approximately $14 trillion does not include the cost of commitments the federal government has made for future retirement, Social Security and Medicare benefits. Only 17% mistakenly believe that the official figures include these commitments. One-in-three voters (33%) are not sure.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

 The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 21-22, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology. 

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