Student loan forgiveness is popular among young potential voters, including those who have never had debt balances.
On Wednesday, the Student Borrower Protection Center, in collaboration with Data for Progress, issued an exclusive poll to Insider that indicated 71% of potential voters aged 18-34 support student debt cancellation, and 66 % support relief even if they have no student debt. The poll was conducted with 664 respondents from March 17 to May 3.
“Younger voters put Joe Biden in the White House on the promise of broad relief from the crushing burden of student debt,” Mike Pierce, executive director of Student Borrower Protection Center which advocates for debt relief, said in a statement.
“As the country recovers from a devastating pandemic and economic crisis, younger voters across the political spectrum are clear in their expectations for the Biden-Harris administration: building back better means cancelling student debt for all borrowers.”
Student debt cancellation was likewise supported by 56% of Republicans, 66% of independents, and 84% of Democrats. These findings come as the debate over prospective student loan relief heats up, with Biden recently stating that a decision on forgiveness will be made in the coming weeks.
While he stated that he is not considering $50,000 in forgiveness — an amount that many progressive lawmakers had hoped for — it appears that his $10,000 forgiveness campaign commitment will be honoured.
While many Republican politicians have claimed that cancelling student debt would harm the economy and be unfair to those who have already paid it off, the poll findings released on Wednesday show otherwise.
It also reflects a point made earlier this month by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who stated that loan forgiveness benefits everyone, including those who are debt-free.
“Maybe student loan forgiveness doesn’t impact you,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in an Instagram story. “That doesn’t make it bad. I am sure there are certainly other things that student loan borrowers’ taxes pay for. We can do good things and reject the scarcity mindset that says doing something good for someone else comes at the cost of something for ourselves.”
Nonetheless, the midterm elections are approaching, and Democratic senators have cautioned Biden that if he does not address student debt, he would lose the support of young people.
In January, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren told The Atlantic that erasing student debt “would persuade a lot of young people that this president is in the fight for them.”
For the time being, the nearly 4 million federal student loan borrowers are waiting to learn what assistance they will receive before payments resume on August 31.
Although there is some leeway, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona recently told MSNBC that “at some point, people are going to have to start paying what they can afford to pay.”