Majority of Americans OK with shutdown if it means bigger cuts

A majority of Americans would support a government shutdown if it meant Congress would make deeper spending cuts, a new poll has found.

According to a new survey from Rasmussen Reports, 57 percent of likely US voters said making deeper spending cuts in the federal budget is a higher priority than preventing a partial government shtudown. Thirty-one percent said they disagreed, with another 12 percent saying they were not sure.

That is little changed from the last time Rasmussen polled on the issue, as 58 percent of voters favored a shutdown if meant bigger cuts in February.

The poll comes as Democrats and Republicans are engaged in fierce debate on Capitol Hill as they work to put together a spending package that would fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. The latest short-term continuing resolution passed by Congress will expire at the end of the day on Friday, with a government shutdown looming if a deal can not be reached.

Lawmakers have twice now averted a shutdown with short-term spending measures, but conservative Republicans indicated this week that their patience is running thin, and they want to pass a single long-term bill for the rest of the year.

Leaders on both sides of the aisle have said they do not want to see the government shut down, with lawmakers accusing opponents of rooting for a government freeze.

According to the poll, Republican voters are more likely to back a shutdown than Democrats. Seventy-six percent of GOP voters made big spending cuts a higher priority than averting a shutdown, while 54 percent of Democrats disagreed. Voters that are not affiliated with either party side more often with Republicans, with 67 percent favoring cuts over preventing a shutdown.

In the midst of the standoff, President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hit a common note Friday, as both warned that a shutdown would have adverse economic consequences.  A plurality of those polled agreed with them. Forty-four percent of voters think a shutdown would be bad for the economy, while 23 percent think it would actually be good for it. Democrats are more than twice as likely to think a shutdown would be bad for the economy than Republicans or unaffiliated voters, Rasmussen said.