No break for GOP in shutdown polling

The public continues to blame Republicans for the unpopular government shutdown, according to an AP-GfK poll released Wednesday.

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Sixty-two percent of respondents in the poll said Republicans in Congress bear “almost all responsibility” for the shutdown. Only 49 percent said the same about President Obama and Democrats in Congress.

It’s the latest in a string of polls to show the public is blaming Republicans for dysfunction in Washington more than Democrats.

The survey found that 68 percent of Americans believe the shutdown is “a major problem for the country.” While the public doesn’t think either side is doing enough to negotiate, a stronger majority – 63 percent – said the GOP was uncooperative, while only 52 percent said the same about Obama.

Republicans polled in the survey are split over how accommodating they think the GOP should be. More than 40 percent surveyed identified as Tea Party Republicans, and only 15 percent of these said Republicans should compromise. Among those who do not back the Tea Party, 48 percent said their party should reach out more to Obama.

With the Oct. 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling approaching, 60 percent said it was “extremely likely” that the U.S. would face a major economic crisis if the “debt limit is not raised and the U.S. defaults on its debt.”

Some Republican might take issue with the wording of that question, as they’ve tried to draw a distinction between raising the debt ceiling and defaulting.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and others have argued that the U.S. could still pay interest on its debt, even if the limit isn’t raised, by using existing revenue. The U.S. would still miss payments on lower priority items, but Paul says that action would avoid a technical default and wouldn’t roil the markets.

Most economists argue that not raising the debt ceiling would create havoc and possibly plunge the U.S. into a deep and unnecessary recession.

The public is conflicted on this — despite the strong majority who predict a major economic crisis if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, only 30 percent said they favor raising it, with 46 saying they have no opinion.

Politicians on both sides are seeing their approval ratings plummet. Fifty-three percent said they disapprove of the job Obama is doing, against only 37 who said they approve. Congress’s approval rating sits at a dismal 5 percent.

The AP-GfK poll of 1,227 people was conducted between Oct. 3 and Oct. 7 and has a 3.4-percentage-point margin of error.