Little worry about a potential government shutdown

November 30, 2015, 2:53 PM GMT+0

Americans are increasingly optimistic that President Obama and Congress will reach a deal to avoid a shutdown

There certainly will be political conflict in Congress over the budget legislation needed to avert a shutdown December 11, but most Americans aren’t worried about a shutdown. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll fewer than one in five Americans believe Congress and the President will not reach an agreement to avoid a shutdown. Doubts have diminished even compared to mid-September.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan took office after those earlier polls were conducted, assuming the Speakership from John Boehner, who had become extremely unpopular with Republicans. Republicans – who had long been disenchanted and unfavorably disposed towards Boehner – like Ryan. But less than a month after Ryan has taken over the job, his support among Republicans has begun to slip, as he too has had to deal with legislative controversy. While most Republicans continue to have favorable views of Ryan, that percentage has dropped ten points just in the last two weeks.

Ryan hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a shutdown, and the conflict over Syrian refugees could be a factor influencing that. But so could conflicts over how to use the agreed-upon $30 billion budget spending increase.

It will be difficult to meet national preferences on this, as Americans historically tend to want to increase spending on pretty much everything except foreign aid. But this poll suggests that after the terrorist attacks in Paris, some priorities have changed. Many Americans would to cut spending on Syrian refugees, just as they would also like to limit the number of refugees who come into this country. Fewer supporting increased expenditure on the refugees now than before the Paris attacks. In contrast, the desire to increase spending on military bases and U.S. troops in the Middle East as well as border protection has gone up.

For all those issues, Republicans are much more supportive of increased spending than Democrats are, suggesting there may be difficulties coming to an agreement on how to spend money as Congress and the President attempt to meet the tight deadline for a budget.

See the Economist/YouGov results

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.