During his 2020 presidential campaign, President Joe Biden made a variety of proposals related to alleviating the student loan debt crisis, including forgiving up to $10,000 per borrower and developing a plan to forgive student loan debt for low-income and middle-class Americans.

After more than a year in office, however, he has yet to take action to help the nearly 45 million Americans who owe a combined $1.7 trillion in student loans.

He may want to address this issue sooner rather than later. According to a new Intelligent.com survey of 1,250 registered voters, if President Biden doesn’t cancel some or all student loan debt, roughly one-quarter of American voters are willing to withhold their vote for him if he runs for re-election in 2024.

Key Findings:

  • 21% of Democrats won’t support Biden in 2024 without action on student loans, compared to 20% of Republicans, and 27% of independent voters
  • 34% of Americans are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ with Biden’s handling of the student loan debt crisis
  • 3 in 4 voters are considering midterm candidates’ stances on student loan debt cancellation

Biden could lose 21% of Democratic voters if he doesn’t act on student loans

To the majority of registered voters, student loan cancellation matters. Forty-two percent say the issue is ‘very important’ to them, while 35% say it’s ‘somewhat important.’

Simultaneously, the majority of Americans, 77%, agree that Biden should cancel at least some student loan debt, although they disagree on exactly how much of this debt should be forgiven.

Twenty-nine percent want Biden to cancel all unpaid student loans for all borrowers. Twenty-six percent support canceling up to $10,000 per borrower, while 22% want up to $50,000 per borrower forgiven.

However, when broken down by political parties, the greatest source of pressure for Biden to act on student loan debt may be the 21% of Democrats who say they won’t vote for him in 2024 unless he cancels some or all student loan debt. This is coupled with 27% of independent voters who won’t vote for Biden in 2024 without some kind of action on student loans.

Democrats are still the most likely group to stand behind the president no matter what. Sixty-five percent of Democrats will consider voting for Biden in 2024, regardless of whether he takes action on student loans.

Meanwhile, 20% of Republicans won’t consider voting for Biden without student loan cancellation, and 61% won’t consider voting for him in 2024 under any circumstances.

Those who call student loan debt cancellation a ‘very important’ issue are even more likely to signal unwillingness to vote for Biden in 2024.

Thirty-three percent of these voters won’t cast their ballot for Biden unless he acts on student loans, compared to 19% of people who call it a ‘somewhat important’ issue, and 10% who say it’s ‘not at all important.’

1/3 of voters are dissatisfied with Biden’s handling of the student loan debt crisis

A year into Biden’s presidency, voters have mixed responses to Biden’s handling of the student loan debt situation.

Eighteen percent are ‘very dissatisfied’ with how Biden has handled the student loan debt situation, while 16% are ‘somewhat dissatisfied.’

Meanwhile, 23% are ‘somewhat satisfied,’ and just 14% are ‘very satisfied.” Twenty-nine percent of voters have neutral feelings about Biden’s response to the crisis.

Voters with student loans are most likely to be dissatisfied. Thirty-eight percent of these Americans expressed dissatisfaction with how Biden has handled the issue, compared to 31% of individuals who have paid off their loans and 34% of Americans who never had student loans.

75% of voters are considering candidates’ positions on student loan debt cancellation for 2022 midterms

Given the importance of the student loan debt issue, and their dissatisfaction with Biden’s handling of it, the majority of Americans are also looking to Congress to deal with student loan debt cancellation.

Forty-one percent of voters believe that both President Biden and Congress have the authority to cancel some or all student loan debt, while 13% say it’s Congress’ responsibility to take action. Seventeen percent believe President Biden alone has authority to forgive student loan debt.

As voters begin to consider candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections, the majority are paying attention to what candidates have to say about the student loan debt crisis.

Thirty-five percent of voters say a midterm candidate’s stance on student loan debt cancellation is ‘very important’ to them, while 40% say it’s ‘somewhat important.’

Once again, it’s most important to voters with student loans, 85% of whom say a candidate’s stance on student loan debt forgiveness is ‘very’ or ‘somewhat important.’

Democrats are more likely than Republicans or Independents to consider a Congressional candidate’s views on student loan forgiveness. Eighty-two percent of Democrats are considering candidates’ stances on this issue when choosing who they will vote for, compared to 71% of Republicans and 73% of Independents.

Methodology

All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by Intelligent.com and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish. In total, 1,250 registered voters in the U.S. were surveyed. Appropriate respondents were found via a screening question. This survey was conducted over a two-day span, starting on February 25, 2022 and ending February 26, 2022. All respondents were asked to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of their abilities. For full survey data, please email Content Marketing Specialist Kristen Scatton at [email protected].

Full Survey Results

Q1. Which of the following best describes your student loan status?

  • I have never had a student loan: 37%
  • I had student loans, but paid them off in full: 28%
  • I am currently paying off my student loans: 35%

 

Q2. What is your political party affiliation?

  • Democrat: 35%
  • Republican: 30%
  • Independent: 28%
  • Other: 7%

 

Q3. Who did you vote for in the 2020 presidential election?

  • Joe Biden: 44%
  • Donald Trump: 35%
  • Other: 15%
  • I did not vote in the 2020 presidential election: 6%

 

Q4. How much student loan debt do you think President Biden should cancel for each borrower?

  • All student loan debt: 29%
  • Up to $10,000: 26%
  • Up to $50,000: 22%
  • None: 23%

 

Q5. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: All Americans with student loan debt should have their loans canceled:

  • Strongly agree: 30%
  • Agree: 22%
  • Neutral: 21%
  • Disagree: 14%
  • Strongly disagree: 13%

 

Q6. How important is the issue of student loan cancellation to you?

  • Very important: 42%
  • Somewhat important: 35%
  • Not at all important: 23%

 

Q7. As of today, how satisfied are you with President Biden’s response to the student loan debt crisis?

  • Very satisfied: 14%
  • Somewhat satisfied: 23%
  • Neutral: 29%
  • Somewhat dissatisfied: 16%
  • Very dissatisfied: 18%

 

Q8. If President Biden doesn’t cancel some or all student loan debt, how will that impact your voting decisions in 2024?

  • If Biden doesn’t cancel some or all student loan debt, I won’t vote for him in 2024: 23%
  • I will consider voting for Biden in 2024, regardless of his actions on student loan debt: 40%
  • I won’t vote for Biden in 2024, regardless of his actions on student loans: 37%

 

Q9. When considering who you will vote for in the 2022 midterm elections, how important is a candidate’s stance on student loan debt cancellation?

  • Very important: 35%
  • Somewhat important: 40%
  • Not at all important: 25%

 

Q10. In your opinion, who has the authority to cancel student loan debt?

  • President Biden: 17%
  • U.S. Congress: 13%
  • Both President Biden and U.S. Congress: 41%
  • No one has the authority to cancel student loan debt: 15%
  • I don’t know: 14%