Canceling student loans could spur nearly half of Americans in key battleground states to vote in November, survey finds

A new poll suggests that student loan relief could boost voter turnout in November’s midterm elections.

Data for Progress, in conjunction with Rise, a higher education advocacy group, conducted a survey obtained exclusively by Insider of 2,066 likely voters in the battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all of which went from former President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Respondents were asked how likely they would vote in the November general election if Biden implemented a range of policy measures related to student debt, and it was found that 45% would be somewhat or a lot more likely to vote if Biden cancels $10,000. student debt for every federal borrower, which he pledged to do during the election campaign.

Additionally, 46% of respondents also said they would be more likely to go to the polls if Biden canceled $50,000 in student debt for every federal borrower, an amount that many progressive lawmakers are calling for. More than a third of respondents said another motivator to vote would come from a further extension of the pause on student loan payments until the end of the year.

Student loan payments have been suspended for more than two years, with interest waived, and are expected to resume in a month, on May 1. While Republican lawmakers have urged Biden not to extend that pause, Democrats have argued that federal borrowers need continued relief, and the president should either extend the pause a fourth time or cancel part of it. student debt before borrowers must resume repayment.

Senate Education Committee Chair Patty Murray, for example, recommended Biden extend the pause on student loan payments until at least 2023 to give him time to “permanently fix” the loopholes. from the student loan industry, such as broken loan forgiveness programs. . 43 Democratic lawmakers recently said borrowers and the Department of Education were “unprepared” to resume payments in May.

“Millions of borrowers have taken advantage of the pause in payments,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Biden. “While progress has been made, we believe it is essential to ensure that we continue to work to mitigate the ongoing impact of the pandemic on families across the country.”

According to the survey, 55% of respondents said they trusted the Democratic Party more to provide student debt relief, but lawmakers from that party expressed concerns about voter turnout if they did not meet priorities. progressive. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in December that it would be “actually illusory” to think Democrats could win an election if they failed to meet voters’ priorities. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in January that canceling student debt would “convince a lot of young people that this president is fighting for them.”

Borrowers are still waiting to hear from the president on any plans to cancel student debt with payments resuming just a month away as pressure continues to mount for Biden to take decisive action on the issue.

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