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Siena Poll finds majority of New Yorkers back Biden student loan forgiveness plan


Majorities of New Yorkers across demographic categories are liking the student loan forgiveness plan announced by Democratic President Joe Biden last month, according to a Siena College poll released Wednesday morning.

The poll found that 56% of respondents overall support the plan while 33% of them oppose it, according to the survey of 803 adults across the state.

“Majorities of New Yorkers support the President’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 worth of student loans for some, up to $10,000 for others and to cap the amount any borrower must pay each month at 5% of their earnings,” Siena College Research Institute Director Don Levy said in a press release.

Even though a majority of New Yorkers support the plan — critics think it could aggravate inflation.
Even though a majority of New Yorkers support the plan — critics think it could aggravate inflation.
Getty Images/EyeEm

Critics have argued that it could exacerbate inflation and would be morally unfair for the federal government to forgive billions in student loans, especially given the purported unfairness to people who don’t owe such money.

But the poll found a 65% majority of people who have already fully paid off their federal student loans support the proposal along with a 49% plurality of people who never had any.

A 73% majority of people who currently have a loan balance support the Biden plan, which the White House has said will cost $240 billion over the next decade.

Just 35% of respondents think that type of cash will make historically-high inflation worse, according to the poll.

Pluralities or majorities of New Yorkers based on nearly gender, age, region, religion, income, ethnicity, political party support the proposal as well – but not Republicans, political independents or people over age 65.

While 82% of Democrats support the plan, Republicans opposite by a 65% to 26% margin, with a 46% plurality of independents in opposition as well compared to 38% in support.

The poll conducted between Aug. 28 and Sept. 1 found that 54% of respondents have paid off all their federal student loans while 45% still have a balance, with 46% of Democrats still having a balance compared to 30% of Republicans.

The Siena Poll found that 56% of respondents support the plan while 33% oppose it.
The Siena Poll found that 56% of respondents support the plan while 33% oppose it.
Getty Images for We the 45m

While the plan, which faces likely legal challenges, appears to be on solid political ground in the Empire State, a solid chunk of New Yorkers remain doubtful of the fairness and wisdom of the plan, according to the poll.

“Fifty-seven percent of New Yorkers say that canceling some student debt will allow many Americans to get out from under the burden of student loans and that debt relief will both help them and the economy,” Levy said in the press release.

Over one third, 35%, disagree and say that canceling student loan debt will increase inflation and that this plan isn’t fair to those that never had student loans, or to those that had loans and already paid them back,” Levy added.



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