Blame them all - but the GOP a little bit more

October 09, 2013, 1:44 PM GMT+0

No one is walking away unscathed from the federal government shutdown, but Republicans are suffering a little more than Democrats.

There’s enough blame to go around when it comes to the government shutdown, and while Americans don’t necessarily think every Republican or Democrat is to blame, the latest Economist/YouGov Poll shows that both parties don’t get much love -- and Republicans get less than Democrats. In addition, many say that their position on the new health care law is more important than ending the shutdown.

Nearly half of the public have unfavorable views of Senate and House Democrats, but even more are negative when it comes to their GOP counterparts. 38% hold favorable views of the Democrats in each Chamber; just over one in four feel that way about Republicans.

The Republicans are get more of the blame for the shutdown, now beginning its second week. Although many cite several people and groups for blame, when forced to choose, 45% say the Congressional Republicans are most to blame. Just over a third name President Obama or the Congressional Democrats.

Like so many things, the shutdown is viewed in partisan terms: 77% of Democrats blame Congressional Republicans, 76% of Republicans blame President Obama or the Democrats in Congress (but mostly President Obama), and independents are divided. Fewer than one in ten Democrats or Republicans blame their own party for the shutdown.

But it’s not every Democrat or every Republican who is to blame. Fewer than one in four who cite the Congressional parties say the entire party’s Congressional delegation is to blame.

Both parties’ House and Senate leaders are disliked, and as for Congress overall, this week just 9% approve. 68% disapprove.

The President’s approval rating, which rose last week as the shutdown was about to begin, has slipped a little and is back to its level of recent months. This week 41% approve of how he is handling his job, while 51% disapprove.

But the President’s personal appeal has suffered a bit. 20% of Democrats disapprove of how he is handling his job, up nine points in the last week. And although he is far more popular than the House and Senate leaders of either party, Americans are just about as likely to have an unfavorable view of President Obama as a favorable one.

The shutdown debate has focused not on budget issues, but on the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. And that debate clearly matters to Americans. As has been the case since the ACA was passed in 2010, the public is divided on what should happen to the plan, with about as many wanting to keep or even expand it (40%) as wanting to repeal it (39%). And what happens to the plan appears to matter to more Americans than say ending the government shutdown is, suggesting this impasse could go on for a while.

African-Americans are the most interested in ending the government shutdown rather than either preserving or ending Obamacare.

Image: Getty

Full results can be found here.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.

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