May 2023 Federal Debt Ceiling Poll

Publication date: May 4, 2023
Written by: Travis Taylor

The Center for Excellence in Polling recently surveyed voters nationwide on government spending and the debt ceiling. We found broad support among voters for welfare work requirements and for requiring the federal bureaucracy to get congressional approval for expensive regulations.

Voters support responsible government spending


…of likely voters say they support requiring able-bodied adults without dependents to work, train, or volunteer at least part-time as a condition of eligibility for welfare benefits. This includes large majorities of Republicans (81%), Democrats (79%), and Independents (68%). In addition to knowing work requirements are good policy, voters understand that welfare program integrity saves state resources for the truly needy.


…of likely voters support requiring federal bureaucratic agencies to get approval from Congress before the agency is allowed to impose costly regulations. Support for this commonsense policy to limit bureaucratic spending comes from 71 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Democrats, and 56 percent of Independent voters.

Voters want responsible spending in exchange for a debt ceiling increase


…of likely voters support tying congressional approval of costly regulations to any debt ceiling deal. This includes 62 percent of Republicans and Independents and 70 percent of Democratic voters.


…of voters say they support including welfare work requirements in any deal to increase the federal debt ceiling. Support for this tie-in comes from a large majority of Democrats, from nearly 6 in ten Independents, and a plurality of Republicans.

Bipartisan and more

While these reforms garner strong support from voters, regardless of party affiliation, they are also broadly popular among key voting constituencies. Support from suburban women ranges from a nine-point plurality (work requirement tie-in to debt ceiling) to an overwhelming majority—74 percent of suburban women support welfare work requirements. Hispanic voters also offer substantial support that ranges from two-thirds of them supporting congressional approval of costly regulations to an astonishing nine in 10 who support welfare work requirements.

The bottom line

As the debt ceiling debate looms over Washington and Congress stares down the barrel of default, American voters want fiscal sanity to rule the day, and that includes reining in government spending and including commonsense reforms as a part of any debt ceiling deal.