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Before deal was struck, most Americans thought shutdown was likely

Most Americans thought Congress was heading for a shutdown before a preliminary deal was struck last week, according to Hill-HarrisX poll published on Monday. 

The nationwide survey, which was conducted Dec. 8-9, just before lawmakers reached a deal to avert a shutdown, showed that 61 percent of registered voters said they thought was either “somewhat” or “very likely” that Congress was heading for a government shutdown. Another 39 percent said they thought a shutdown was “somewhat” or “very unlikely.”

Democrats were more inclined to say that Congress was on the brink of a shutdown. Seventy-one percent of Democratic voters said they thought there would be a government shutdown, compared to 55 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents.

The survey comes as lawmakers are expected to introduce a year-end government spending deal late Monday. This comes after top House and Senate negotiators reached a deal in principle last Thursday, with staffers hammering out the details over the weekend. 

The bill is expected to address a broad range of issues, including everything from coal miners’ health care to election security and the border wall. 

A provision, spearheaded by Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden EPA asks Justice Dept. to pause defense of Trump-era rules | Company appeals rejection of Pebble Mine | Energy pick Granholm to get hearing Wednesday Nomination hearing for Biden Energy pick Granholm set for Wednesday Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief MORE (D-W.Va.), is aimed at preserving the health benefits and pensions for tens of thousands of coal miners.

The stopgap spending bill also reportedly includes $425 million for election security, which has become a major issue in recent years following Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential election.

President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE's long-promised border wall, meanwhile, got a boost. Three congressional sources have said that lawmakers have also agreed on $1.375 billion to build physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Hill-HarrisX survey was conducted online among 1,000 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

— Tess Bonn