"Cancel it. Every penny": Poll shows 83% of Democrats want Biden to nix student debt

"Even Americans who don't carry student debt themselves are sympathetic and are supportive of loan forgiveness."

Published February 23, 2022 4:45AM (EST)

A student with a dollar bill attached to his cap during the graduation ceremony. (Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
A student with a dollar bill attached to his cap during the graduation ceremony. (Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)

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Polling out Thursday reveals overwhelming support from President Joe Biden's party for canceling student loan debt.

Among Democrats, according to the survey from Navigator Research, 83% expressed support for the federal government wiping out at least a portion of such debt.

Looking at respondents overall, 63% back debt cancellation, including 59% of Independents and 41% of Republicans. The strongest support came from Black Americans at 87%, followed by Hispanic (72%), Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (68%), and white (57%) respondents.

Strong support for debt cancellation came whether or not respondents hold debt themselves. Eighty-nine percent of those currently saddled with student loan debt support cancellation compared to 75% among those who've ever had such debt at any time. Even among those who've never had student debt at all, support for cancellation stood at 55%.

Navigator conducted the survey of 1,000 registered voters February 3-7, 2022.

The data, said Bryan Bennett, senior director of polling and analytics at the Hub Project and adviser to Navigator Research, "shows that President Biden canceling student loan debt could be hugely consequential to millions of Americans facing significant financial burdens amidst the pain of rising costs—it would decrease the racial wealth gap and potentially help him regain support from Black and Hispanic Americans in particular, where he has seen erosion in job approval over the last few months."

"Even Americans who don't carry student debt themselves," he noted, "are sympathetic and are supportive of loan forgiveness."

The new polling comes amid mounting calls for Biden to wipe out a debt crisis affecting over 40 million Americans and that's now reached over $1.8 trillion.

"Cancel it. Every penny," tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in response to the latest figure.

Dozens of congressional Democrats including Sanders last month urged Biden to release an Education Department memo the president requested outlining his authority to cancel student debt. The Education Department has reportedly had the memo since April last year.

In addition to calls from progressive lawmakers, economic justice groups like the Debt Collective continue to push Biden wipe out student debt—a call that's gained increased urgency with the pause on student loan payments set to end May 1.

"Student debt is at $1.8 trillion. It will never be paid back, and we don't mean that rhetorically," the group said in a Thursday tweet. "The Department of Education literally knows the money cannot be paid back—it balloons too quickly and no one can afford it. It's impossible. So just wipe it off the books, @POTUS."

The Debt Collective is also among the groups behind an April day of action in the nation's capitol centered on the message: "Pick up the Pen, Joe. Cancel student debt for all 45 million Americans."

By Andrea Germanos

Andrea Germanos is a senior editor and staff writer at Common Dreams.

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