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Debt-Ceiling Emphasizes Public Disapproval as Elections Draw Nearer

Congress, take note: the court of public opinion matters!

According a to a poll conducted by CNN and ORC international, 77 percent of the American public was in disapproval of the way that Congress handled the debt-limit debate which ended Tuesday after many months of prolonged deliberation.

The debt-limit “ceiling” – the legal limit on borrowing – has been an historical problem, consistently pushed aside. The first limit was set in 1917 at $ 11.5 billion and on May 16, 2011 the nation hit the $14.294 trillion mark.

The agreement reached attempts to reduce the deficit while avoiding default; however, the drawn-out process has caused consequences for politicians in the public eye and most likely at the polls.

According to the Pew Research Center, the debate has affected candidate image – “The debt ceiling debate has tarnished the image of both President Obama and Speaker Boehner – about a third say they have come to have a less favorable view of each leader in recent weeks.” Nationwide, 72 percent of Americans have used words such as “terrible, disappointing, childish and joke” to assess the how Congress handled the agreement. When asked who they trust to address the nation’s biggest problems, a record 20 percent of Americans (and more than a third of political independents) said “they have faith in neither party,” according to one reporter at the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, 2012 elections are just around the corner and this time Americans may not have as short a memory. And while the court of public opinion was while seemingly not more important that the perceived bickering, one has to wonder which candidates will take advantage of the opportunity to regain American trust before it’s too late?

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