Poll shows Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan a liability for applicants

A majority of Americans say they are less likely to vote for candidates who support President Biden’s student loan bailout, according to a new poll.

In a national survey by Trafalgar Group released on Monday, 55.6% of likely general election voters say they are either “much less likely” or “somewhat less likely” to vote for candidates who support the bailout. Of these, 49% of respondents say candidates supporting the action are “much less likely” to receive their vote.

Less than half, 44.4% of respondents, said they were more likely to vote for candidates who support Mr Biden’s student loan cancellation. Of these, 30.9% say they are “much more likely” to vote for candidates who support him.

Republicans are much more discouraged by the bailout. An overwhelming majority, 88.5% of Republicans polled, say they are less likely to vote for candidates who support Mr. Biden’s debt cancellation. Few Republicans, 11.6%, say they are more likely to vote for candidates who support the bailout.

Among Democrats, 10.5% say they are less likely to vote for candidates who support Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, compared to 89.4% who say they are more likely to vote for candidates who support the measure.

Among third-party and independent voters, 64.6% say they are less likely to vote for candidates who support Mr. Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, compared to 35.5% who say they are more likely to vote for candidates who support him.

The survey, which was conducted September 2-5, interviewed 1,084 likely general election voters. The poll had a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

Mr Biden announced last month that he would forgive up to $20,000 in debt for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year – a move that will certainly catch the attention of young voters as Democrats consider a difficult mid-term electoral cycle.

The president also extended the pause on federal student loan payments through December, saying restarting payments would help offset the cost of debt cancellation.

It capped monthly payments on outstanding undergraduate loans at 5% of discretionary income, down from the current 10%. It cancels loan balances after 10 years of payments, instead of 20 years, for initial loan balances of $12,000 or less.

Administration officials expect up to 20 million people to have their student debt completely forgiven under the plan.

Mr Biden faced backlash from both sides of the aisle during the move.

Liberals who pressured Mr. Biden to write off $50,000 or more in student debt per borrower complained he was not going far enough.

Republicans have slammed the move as an extension of runaway spending by Mr. Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress. Opponents also blame the plan for discriminating against those who have paid off college loans or received tuition breaks in exchange for military service or have chosen not to attend college.

Opponents from both parties have argued that student loan forgiveness is a form of government spending and that Congress, not the executive, controls the purse strings. This issue is expected to fuel legal challenges that could derail debt cancellation for years, if not indefinitely.

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