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Less than half of Americans support Biden’s plan to forgive $10,000 to $20,000 in student loans per borrower

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 9/2/2022 Victor Reklaitis
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IN ONE CHART

So what’s the polling for President Joe Biden’s new plan for federal student loans, which includes canceling a big tranche of the debt?

A new Morning Consult/Politico survey has found that 48% of Americans support Biden’s effort to forgive between $10,000 and $20,000 of debt for individuals earning less than $125,000 a year (or $250,000 for households).

Some 43% are opposed to the forgiveness, and 9% are undecided, as shown in the top part of the chart below.

Among Democrats, support for Biden’s forgiveness plan is at 72%, while just 42% of independents and 26% of Republicans back it. Among people who have student loans, 73% support the plan.

Morning Consult/Politico released the survey Wednesday after it was conducted on Friday through Sunday among a sample of 2,007 registered voters. The margin of error is 2 percentage points.

Related: ‘I’ll kind of believe it when I see it’: Borrowers brace for obstacles to promised student debt relief

As November’s midterm elections get closer, Biden made his long-awaited announcement on student-loan forgiveness a week ago, saying his administration plans to cancel $10,000 in debt for borrowers who meet those aforementioned income limits, with recipients of Pell grants getting forgiveness of up to $20,000.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre cited other polls during a Thursday briefing while talking up the president’s move. Those surveys were conducted before Biden’s announcement and didn’t touch on canceling up to $20,000 in debt for recipients of Pell grants.

She said a Morning Consult/Politico poll in June found 51% support for forgiving $10,000 in debt, an NPR survey in July found 55% support for the cancellation of up to $10,000, and an Economist/YouGov survey in July found 51% backing that amount of forgiveness. 

“The announcement that you heard from the Department of Education and the president, it’s popular amongst American people,” Jean-Pierre told reporters.

The fate of Biden’s student-loan plan now likely rests with the U.S. court system, as legal challenges are expected.

Now read: Biden ‘should have further targeted the relief’: Democrats in tough Senate races distance themselves from his plan for student-loan forgiveness

And see: ‘Student-loan socialism’ — Republicans blast Biden’s debt-forgiveness move, as Democrats praise his ‘effective action’

Plus: ‘Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene had $183,504 in PPP loans forgiven’: White House calls out Republicans criticizing student-loan forgiveness

Also: Watchdogs see Biden’s student-loan plan costing $500 billion to $1 trillion, while White House says $1 trillion isn’t ‘anywhere in the ballpark’

This report was first published on Aug. 31, 2022.

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