As Republicans and Democrats in Congress haggle over the budget, most voters would rather have a partial shutdown of the federal government than keep its spending at current levels.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 33% of Likely U.S. Voters would rather have Congress avoid a government shutdown by authorizing spending at the same levels as last year. Fifty-eight percent (58%) says it’s better to have a partial shutdown until Democrats and Republicans can agree on what spending to cut. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
The partisan differences are striking. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Democrats prefer avoiding a shutdown by going with current spending levels. But 80% of Republicans -- and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party -- think a shutdown is a better option until the two sides can agree on spending cuts.
Congress never passed a budget for 2011 but authorized spending for a few months. That authorization will expire soon, and Congress must act quickly or some federal government services could be shut down. Payments for things like Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits would continue, however.
A plurality (48%) of all voters believe that a partial government shutdown would be bad for the economy. Twenty-five percent (25%) say a shutdown would be good for the country economically, while 15% say it would have no impact.
Democrats are worried about the economic impact of a partial government shutdown. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of those in the president’s party say a shutdown would be bad for the economy. However, Republicans and unaffiliated voters are evenly divided on the topic with nearly as many saying a shutdown would be good for the economy as bad.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on February 24-25, 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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