Gallup’s Frank Newport: Debt Ceiling Won’t Be Major Campaign Issue In 2012

Of course Mr. Newport’s analysis assumes is predicated on the debt ceiling being raised.

The effort to raise America’s debt ceiling and avoid a government shutdown is Topic A inWashington this muggy week in July, but the issue probably won’t loom large in the 2012 presidential election, says one influential pollster.

That’s because most people do not see the national debt and the federal budget deficit as top concerns, says Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll.

In frequent polling of Americans about their most important problems, “there is still relatively low mention of the debt and the deficit on the part of the American public. It’s the economy and jobs which are the major issue,” Mr. Newport told a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters on Tuesday. “I still don’t see the debt issue as a major campaign theme,” he concludes.

The state of the economy is a key variable in how long voters will remember or care about the debt-ceiling debate, says Newport.

“If the economy as … perceived by the American public is doing much better next year, then a lot of things will be forgotten and or forgiven,” he says. His assessment that the debt ceiling debate will not loom large in the 2012 election could change, Newport cautions, “If the economy springs back or tanks and it can be blamed on the debt and deficit.”

Read more from Dave Cook at The Christian Science Monitor 

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