Government Shutdown Blame? Poll Fingers Republicans And Democrats

Oct 05, 2013 | Updated Oct 05, 2013

Although Democrats and Republicans both have been embarrassed by their leaked comments about which side is "winning" the shutdown debate, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll shows that both sides are losing, at least as far as public opinion on who's responsible.

According to the survey, 25 percent of Americans think the two sides are equally responsible for the government shutdown, while 36 percent place more blame on Republicans in Congress and 33 percent place more blame on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress.

While the new poll finds almost equal blame for the two parties, three surveys conducted Oct. 1-2 by CBS News, Fox News and YouGov, found Americans more likely to focus their blame on Republicans than on Obama and Democrats.

Compared to the HuffPost/YouGov poll, the CBS and Fox News surveys found fewer people saying that both sides were equally to blame -- possibly because the HuffPost/YouGov poll included "both are equally responsible" as an explicit option, while the other polls required respondents to volunteer that answer. In all three surveys, though, Democrats and Republicans were each blamed, at least in part, by more than 50 percent of Americans.

The other YouGov poll didn't offer an option to point the finger at both sides.

All of the four surveys showed a lopsided partisan divide, with the vast majority of Democrats blaming Republicans and the vast majority of Republicans blaming Democrats.

Still, the latest HuffPost/YouGov poll shows Americans have little patience for either side. Fifty percent said Obama and the Democrats are doing too little to compromise on a new budget, while an almost identical 48 percent said the same of Republicans.

Twenty-nine percent said that Obama and the Democrats are compromising about the right amount, while 8 percent said they're compromising too much. Thirty percent said Republicans are compromising about the right amount, and 10 percent said they're compromising too much.

A Gallup poll released Friday also shows both sides taking hits in public opinion. In that survey, 57 percent of Americans said the shutdown has made them feel more negatively toward the president, 61 percent feel more negatively toward Republican leaders in Congress and 58 percent feel more negatively toward Democratic leaders in Congress.

Regardless of whom they blame, many Americans are expecting both sides to dig in for the long haul, according to the HuffPost/YouGov poll. Only 7 percent said they expect the shutdown to last less than a week, while 31 percent said it will last one or two weeks, 19 percent said three or four weeks, and 10 percent said more than a month. Thirty-three percent said they're not sure.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Oct. 2-3 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling.

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