Majority Of Republicans Favor Government Shutdown Over Budget Compromise

April 7, 2011 9:56 am

As the country braces for a possible government shutdown at week’s end, two new polls show that a majority of Republicans would rather see the government temporarily shuttered than have Congress pass a compromise spending bill. At the same time, Democrats and independents overwhelmingly support a compromise over a shutdown, according to the polls.

Those findings underscore the bind Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) finds himself in as he tries to avert a government shutdown. To prevent a shutdown — and avert a possible backlash from voters — Boehner would likely need to compromise with Democrats. But in doing so, he would risk angering his party’s base.

In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of adult Americans released Wednesday, 56% of self-identified Republicans said GOP leaders should stick to their guns and not compromise on the budget, while 38% said they should strike a deal. Meanwhile, two-thirds of independents (66%) said they preferred a compromise, while just 30% said the GOP should stand firm. Additionally, 64% of Democrats said they’d rather see Democrats make a deal than hold out for a shutdown.

A Gallup poll of adult Americans, also released on Wednesday, found a similar result. In that poll, 58% of all respondents said they hoped for a compromise, compared to 30% who said they’d rather see a shutdown than a compromise bill they didn’t completely agree with.

Among that sample, 68% of Democrats and 60% of independents said they wanted Congress to, “Agree to a budget compromise, even if that means they pass a bill you don’t agree with.” But 51% of Republicans said they’d rather see GOP leaders in Congress hold out for the deal they want, even if that meant shutting down the government. Forty-four percent of Republicans said they’d accept a compromise they didn’t fully agree with to avoid a shutdown.

Boehner has struck a firm tone all week, arguing that controversial provisions in a house spending bill — such as the complete defunding of Planned Parenthood and NPR — must be in a final budget bill. Democrats in the Senate have balked at those proposals.

Polls are unclear which party would take the biggest political hit in the event of a shutdown. In the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 40% of respondents said they would blame the GOP, while 20% said they’d blame Obama, and another 20% said they’d most blame Congressional Democrats. Additionally, 17% said they’d blame everyone involved. A Washington Post/ABC News survey released last week found Americans evenly split at 37% over whether they would blame Obama or Republicans.

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