More than 80% of Americans Say Nation's Long-term Debt is Important Factor in Deciding their Vote this Election Day

Oct 30, 2014

Contact: Sarah Stipicevic, Press Secretary
(212) 542-9265

Voters Say Addressing Long-term Debt Will Help Boost Economic Opportunity, Increase Business Confidence and Spur Investment

Voters More Likely to Support Candidates Who Have a Fiscal Plan to Reduce Debt and Who are Willing to Work Across the Aisle

Election 2014 Poll
Click here for the polling memo

NEW YORK — An overwhelming majority of Americans, 82 percent, say the long-term national debt is an important factor when it comes to deciding how they will vote in the November midterm elections, according to a new poll released today by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The survey, prepared by polling firms Global Strategy Group and North Star Opinion Research, finds strong support among Republican, Democratic and Independent voters for candidates who have a plan to reduce the long-term debt in order to strengthen the economy.

"As Americans head to the voting booth, it's clear that fiscal issues will help determine their choices," said Michael A. Peterson, President and COO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. "Voters want their candidates to have a plan to reduce our long-term debt because they understand that doing so will boost economic growth, opportunity and investment. Voters also recognize that our fiscal challenges are too important to be overcome by partisan politics, and they are more likely to support candidates who are willing to work across the aisle to secure America’s fiscal and economic future."

Detailed findings from the survey include:

  • Voters say national debt among most important issues for them this election cycle. As the midterm election nears, eight in ten (82%) voters say that the debt is an important issue when it comes to their vote for Congress this year, including one half (51%) who consider it “extremely” or “very” important. The issue crosses party lines, with seven in ten voters (70%), including clear majorities of Democrats (63%), Independents (66%), and Republicans (83%), saying it is one of the three most important issues they will consider in deciding which candidate to vote for.
  • Voters want lawmakers to address national debt in order to help support economic growth. Understanding the need to put our nation on a sustainable long-term fiscal path, broad majorities of voters say it is important that a Congressional candidate have a plan to reduce the debt in order to create more opportunities for everyday Americans (76% important); increase companies’ confidence so they make investments and hire more workers (71%); and enable more small businesses to get loans they need (71%).
  • Voters want to hear more from their candidates on fiscal issues. Nearly three-fourths (73%) agree that they would have preferred that candidates spent more time discussing the debt, with roughly six in ten (61%) being more motivated to vote if their candidates had spent more time on the issue, including majorities of Democrats (52%), Independents (60%), and Republicans (72%).
  • Voters value bipartisan approach to solving nation’s long-term debt challenges. Nearly six in ten voters would consider voting for a standard Republican (58%) or Democratic (56%) candidate for Congress this year — however, when the same candidate is described as willing to work with the other party on a plan to reduce the debt, the share of voters open to voting for them rises to 74% for the Republican and 69% for the Democrat. Even a majority of Democrats (58%) are open to voting for a Republican who is willing to work across party lines on the issue, and Republican voters are 18 points more likely to consider voting for a Democrat (22% to 40%) if the candidate will work toward a bipartisan solution to the country’s debt problem.

To view the national survey memo, prepared by Global Strategy Group and North Star Opinion Research,
click here.

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation commissioned the poll by the Global Strategy Group and North Star Opinion Research to conduct a nationwide survey of 1,001 registered voters between October 20 and October 23, 2014. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. The margin of error on sub-samples is greater. The poll examined voters’ opinions on the relationship of our fiscal outlook to various economic factors and outcomes.

About the Peter G. Peterson Foundation
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the nature and urgency of key long-term fiscal challenges threatening America's future, and to accelerating action on them. To address these challenges successfully, we work to bring Americans together to find and implement sensible, long-term solutions that transcend age, party lines and ideological divides in order to achieve real results. To learn more, please visit

What Does the Debt Mean for Our Future?

We all have a responsibility to build a brighter fiscal and economic future for the next generation.

National Debt Clock

See the latest numbers and learn more about the causes of our high and rising debt.