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Poll: Republicans would bear most blame for a government shutdown

Opinions haven't changed much from late February -- those blaming Republicans increased from 36 percent, those faulting the White House went up from 35 percent and those blaming both parties dropped a percentage point. 

However, opinions are far different now than they were in 1995 shortly before the government shut down with 46 percent saying it would be Republicans’ fault while 27 percent said the Clinton administration would be to blame, according to a Washington Post/ABC News survey.

While respondents were willing to apply blame, most preferred lawmakers and the White House to work out a deal before funding for the government expires on Friday. 

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The Pew survey found that 55 percent want the lawmakers they agree with on this issue to be more willing to compromise, even if it means approving a budget they don't like. 

Only 36 percent want lawmakers they agree with to stand by their principles, even if it means the government shuts down.

With time running short, House Republicans expressed frustration over the direction of the negotiations. 

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerAre maskless House members scofflaws? Israel, Democrats and the problem of the Middle East Joe Crowley to register as lobbyist for recording artists MORE (R-Ohio) said Monday that a spending agreement with the Senate and White House must contain more than the $33 billion in immediate cuts.  
 

"Despite attempts by Democrats to lock in a number among themselves, I’ve made clear that their $33 billion is not enough and many of the cuts that the White House and Senate Democrats are talking about are full of smoke and mirrors. That’s unacceptable,” BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerAre maskless House members scofflaws? Israel, Democrats and the problem of the Middle East Joe Crowley to register as lobbyist for recording artists MORE said in a statement.

Still, those asked in the Pew poll indicated that a willingness to compromise is important. 

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When broken out by party, half of Republicans (50%) say lawmakers who share their views should stand by their principles even if that means the government shuts down, whereas 43 percent say they should work toward compromise even if they don't agree with the final accord. 

Most conservative Republicans (56%) favor lawmakers standing by their principles, even if that leads to a government shutdown while 37 percent of moderate and liberal Republicans favor this approach, the survey showed.

Among all Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who support the Tea Party, 68 percent say lawmakers who share their views should stand by their principles, even if it means the government shuts down. That compares with just 35 percent of Republicans and GOP leaners who have no opinion of the Tea Party or disagree with the movement.

Democrats are far more unified with 69 percent saying lawmakers who share their views should be more willing to compromise, even if that means they pass a budget they disagree with. There are no substantive differences in the views of liberal Democrats and the party’s conservatives and moderates. 

Independents also say lawmakers should be more willing to compromise, by 53 percent to 38 percent.