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57% Okay With Government Shutdown If It Leads to Deeper Budget Cuts

Friday, April 01, 2011

A majority of voters are fine with a partial shutdown of the federal government if that’s what it takes to get deeper cuts in federal government spending.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters think making deeper spending cuts in the federal budget for 2011 is more important than avoiding a partial government shutdown. Thirty-one percent (31%) disagree and say avoiding a shutdown is more important. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Republicans want to make more spending cuts in the current budget than Democrats do, but 36% of voters think it would be better to avoid a government shutdown by authorizing spending at a level most Democrats will agree to. Fifty-seven percent (57%) would rather have a shutdown until Democrats and Republicans can agree on deeper spending cuts.

This shows little change from late February when 58% of voters said it was better to have a partial government shutdown than to keep spending at current levels.

Since then, congressional Democrats have agreed to spending cuts but now are accusing Republicans of being held hostage by the budget-cutting demands of Tea Party voters. The legislators have avoided a shutdown by passing a series of stopgap budget bills, but several conservative Republicans now say they will not support any more of these measures. In the event of a shutdown, payments for things like Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits would continue.

Still, a plurality (44%) of voters thinks a partial shutdown of the federal government would be bad for the economy, down four points from February.  Twenty-three percent (23%) say a shutdown would be good for the economy, while a similar number (22%) say it would have no impact, a seven-point increase from the previous survey.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on March 30-31, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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