Network Poll Coverage Ignores Public Opposition to Debt Ceiling Raise

NBC and CBS polls released earlier this week determined that a significant portion of the American public remain opposed to any increase in the nation’s debt limit, but neither network has included that fact in their on-air reporting. And a poll released by ABC on Tuesday didn’t even bother to ask for public opinion on whether the raising the debt ceiling was a good idea or not.

The networks’ selective coverage of their own polls corresponds with CNN on-air hosts scandalously ignoring the fact that their polling found 66% of Americans supported the House GOP's 'Cut, Cap and Balance' plan and that 74% would support a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that despite warnings of supposedly dire consequences if the debt ceiling was not raised, 31% of Americans were against the increase. After providing a brief explanation of both sides of the argument, that number went up to 43%. The CBS News poll found an even higher 49% of Americans thought Congress should not raise the debt ceiling.

The closest ABC News came to actually asking the question was to simply wonder who Americans would blame for the assumed disaster that would befall the country if the debt ceiling was not raised. 

All three networks did find time use their respective poll findings to focus blame for the stalemate on the Republican Party. On Tuesday's ABC World News, anchor Diane Sawyer proclaimed: "Republicans baring the brunt of the blame, 67% disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling the economy." 

On Wednesday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd declared: "Most of this poll shows that the middle of the country and a majority of Americans basically don't like the Republican position on this debt plan." 

Finally, on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge observed: "And congressional Republicans also have an issue here as well. Seventy-one percent say they disapprove of their handling of things."

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC