Few Americans have heard about a proposal to mint a $1 trillion platinum coin in order to address the nation's debt problems if an agreement to avert a debt ceiling crisis is not reached, but a new HuffPost/YouGov poll finds that they are skeptical of the idea.
Thirty-eight percent of Americans surveyed in the new poll said they disapprove of the platinum coin proposal, while only 19 percent said they approve. Forty-three percent said they aren't sure about the option. The idea has gained attention recently after Rep. Jerrold Nadler suggested (N.Y.) it as a possibility to avoid a debt default if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling. Since then, the option has gained some prominent supporters, including New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
But Americans have heard very little about the proposal, with 55 percent of survey respondents saying that they've heard nothing at all about the platinum coin, 26 percent saying they've heard a little and only 7 percent saying they've heard a lot about it.
By a small 28 percent to 25 percent plurality, Democrats in the survey said they approve of the proposal, but a majority of Republicans and a plurality of independents say they disapprove of it.
The survey found that respondents are reluctant to raise the debt ceiling, even if it means defaulting on debt payments or immediately cutting spending by 40 percent. Only 32 percent of respondents said that Congress should raise the debt ceiling, while 41 percent said it should not be raised and 26 percent weren't sure. Republicans in the poll opposed raising the debt ceiling by a huge 70 percent to 12 percent margin, while Democrats favored raising it by 52 percent to 18 percent. Independents were more likely to oppose raising the debt ceiling than support the move, by 47 percent to 26 percent.
Forced to choose between default and drastic spending cuts, 59 percent of respondents said they would prefer cutting back spending by 40 percent -- the approximate amount necessary to avoid a debt default if the debt ceiling wasn't raised. Only 10 percent said they would choose a debt default.
The survey found that the preference for spending cuts over debt default crossed party lines, with a massive 80 percent of Republicans supporting spending cuts in such a situation and a 47-percent-to-13-percent plurality of Democrats also saying they would support spending cuts over default.
While the survey found Americans in favor of spending cuts -- at least in theory -- when faced with such a drastic choice, a recent Pew Research Center poll found Americans have little stomach for specific cuts, especially to Medicare or Social Security, as part of a deficit reduction program.
Still, Americans are very worried about the consequences of a debt default for the global economy, according to the survey -- 57 percent said it would have a major negative effect, 15 percent a minor negative effect and only a combined 14 percent said it would have either a major or minor positive effect, or have no effect, on the global economy.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Jan. 4-6 among 1,000 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, though that inherent variation does not take into account other potential sources of error, including statistical bias in the sample. The poll used a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.