The debate will no doubt affect voters next year in swing states like Pennsylvania and Iowa, as well as Florida and Ohio. But Rothenberg adds that voters will ultimately focus their attention not on fiscal crises but economic woes. "[The debt ceiling debate] is important, because it defines the public's view of the parties. But it's also going to be important next October where jobs are and the economy," says Rothenberg. In short, the unemployment rate, and not the country's borrowing limit, is the number with far greater influence on the outcome of the 2012 elections.