Nov 24, 2020
Sixty percent of registered voters support President-elect Joe Biden canceling up to $50,000 of student loan debt per person, according to new polling by Hill-HarrisX.
As Common Dreams has reported, pressure is mounting on Biden to immediately cancel student loan debt upon taking office in January, a move that is within his power and that progressives say is a sure-fire way to improve working people's lives amid a crushing economic crisis.
The survey, conducted online among a representative sample of U.S. voters between November 17-19, shows that a majority of the nation's electorate is in favor of forgiving at least some of the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt that nearly 46 million Americans collectively owe, which left-leaning economic analyst and Roosevelt Institute director Mike Konczal calls "an albatross around the neck of an entire generation."
Views on Biden ameliorating the student loan crisis by canceling up to $50,000 of debt per person vary based on a number of political and demographic characteristics.
Democrats (84%) and Independents (57%) are more likely than Republicans to support the measure, with 66% of GOP voters opposed to the idea.
The strength of support for student debt cancellation corresponds with age. Seventy-three percent of 18-34 year-olds, the youngest cohort of voters, are in favor of the proposal, along with 68% of 35-49 year-olds, 50% of 50-64 year-olds, and 46% of voters 65 and older.
Voters of color (83% of Black voters; 74% of Hispanic voters) are more likely than white voters (53%) to support Biden canceling up to $50,000 in student loan debt per person, although a majority of voters across racial categories endorse the move.
Contrary to the notion that student loan debt cancellation is a policy that is only beneficial to and favored by an elite intelligentsia, the survey shows that support for the measure is consistent regardless of educational attainment and income.
Fifty-nine percent of voters with less than four years worth of university credits support up to $50,000 of student loan debt forgiveness per person compared with 60% of those who have obtained a college degree. Meanwhile, 60% of voters with annual incomes under $75,000 support the measure, compared with 59% of voters who are paid more than $75,000 per year.
While this snapshot of voter opinion on a student loan debt jubilee is encouraging to the left, "it's not enough to point to poll results showing that robust majorities support progressive policies in the abstract," Astra Taylor, author and anti-debt organizer, cautioned recently.
"Survey results are not solidarity, which can only be built through the hard work of organizing," Taylor asserted.
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