Oct 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

By the numbers: Debt limit intrigue

Google interest over time in the debt ceiling
Data: Google Trends; Chart: Axios Visuals

Public interest in the debt limit was just starting to rev up before Senate leaders struck a deal on Thursday to push the dilemma to December.

The big picture: Google searches for the topic were higher than at any point since 2013 but still well below levels from 2011 and '13, according to Google Trends data.

Why it matters: While the procedural debate about the debt limit has narrow Beltway appeal, the issue has the explosive potential to upend American life if the worst fears of a sovereign default and economic collapse are realized.

The topic broke into the national conversation over the last couple weeks, with interest starting to build last Monday, Sept. 27, according to data from NewsWhip.

  • This week, debt limit stories have generated more social media interactions (likes, comments, shares) than those about the California oil spill, "Squid Game" and Tom Brady, per NewsWhip data.
  • Over the last couple days, the story has attracted as much interest as the Gabby Petito case.
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