Republican and independent voters are strongly opposed to any deal to increase the federal debt ceiling, and any GOP politician who dares to do so could be vulnerable to a primary challenge, according to a Newsmax/InsiderAdvantage poll.
Overall, voters oppose raising the debt ceiling by a strong 45 percent to 32 percent margin, with the remainder undecided.
But the real eye-opener in the poll is the stiff Republican and swing-voter opposition to a deal. Sixty-seven percent of GOP voters and 51 percent of independents think raising the debt ceiling is a bad idea.
Democratic voters, by comparison favored raising the debt ceiling by a 44 to 21 percent margin. Interestingly, 35 percent of Democrats say they are either undecided on the question, or don't know enough to have an opinion.
InsiderAdvantage CEO Matt Towery tells Newsmax the poll strongly suggests GOP candidates backing a debt-ceiling hike do so at their own political peril.
"What this tells me is if you are an incumbent Republican in the House and the Senate," Towery says, "and you go to raise the debt ceiling, you can pretty much be sure you'll have a major primary opponent the next time you're up for re-election."
Along with the disastrous employment numbers released for June, it's another indication Republicans could have all the leverage in their negotiations with the Obama administration.
"These numbers serve as a warning that as we address the debt limit
increase, we shouldn't do so in a way that raises taxes and impedes the ability of small businesses to create jobs and get people back to work," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday following the news that unemployment jumped to 9.2 percent in June.
Towery says the results indicate Republicans have a political opportunity to make serious cuts. But he hastens to add that GOP leaders "have got to show that they're serious."
Other key insights from the Newsmax/InsiderAdvantage poll:
- Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a candidate for the GOP nomination for president, was second only to President Barack Obama as the leader who "cares the most about the future of America." Obama had 33 percent, followed by Bachman with 21 percent and Romney with 12.2 percent.
- While Obama drew the most support on that question, Towery comments that, "I look at it completely differently ... only 33 percent of Americans believe that the president of the United States cares the most about the future of America."
- Asked which leader is best suited to solve America's fiscal and economic problems, 32 percent selected Obama compared to 17 percent for Romney, 11 percent for House Speaker John Boehner, and a rock-bottom 3.7 percent who are willing to put their trust in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
- Among independents even fewer -- just 3.2 percent -- say Geithner is the one best equipped to resolve the nation's economic malaise.
Overall, Towery says the poll reflects strong GOP and tea party support for Bachmann.
"What Bachmann stands for right now is the best hope, for the moment, of a viable candidate who is aligned with the concepts of the so-called tea party," he tells Newsmax. "I think that's what she is. And until somebody knocks her off her throne -- and I'm not sure that's going to happen -- she is going to have their vote."
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