Public sharply divided on who to blame if government shuts down: poll

By Sahil Kapur
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 12:46 EDT
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WASHINGTON – Americans are divided over whether President Barack Obama or Republicans would be to blame in the event of a government shutdown, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll.

Thirty-six percent say Republicans would be at fault if the two sides aren’t able to strike a budget deal, while 35 percent would fault Obama in such a scenario. Seventeen percent said both, 10 percent said neither, and 1 percent had no opinion.

The Republican-led House recently approved a measure pushing $61 billion in cuts to hundreds of non-defense, discretionary federal programs. Many of the cuts won’t fly with Democrats, who call the bill draconian, setting up a showdown.

Congress failed to pass a budget for fiscal 2011, as some Democratic leaders argued last fall that the debt commission’s December report would need to be considered. Two continuing resolutions were subsequently passed to keep the government solvent, the latter of which expires at midnight on March 4.

If the two parties don’t reach a deal by Friday to continue funding the government, a shutdown would occur. It would likely halt government services like health care, delay passport applications, and result in the closure of national parks, museums and monuments.

Both sides have emphatically stated they would not like to see the government shut down, each scrambling to blame the other over the possibility.

Seeking to avoid such a scenario, the White House and Congressional Republicans are reportedly on the verge of passing a interim bill that would keep the government running through March 18, buying them time to craft a broader budget.

Republicans are haunted by memories of 1995, when a clash between a new GOP-led House and the Clinton White House led to a partial government shutdown, which turned public opinion decisively in Clinton’s favor.

But then, unlike now, the public had already decided prior to the shutdown that the Gingrich-led Republicans would be to blame, according to a 1995 Washington Post-ABC poll.

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  • cannotvote

    The rethuglians and their paymasters are to blame – silly!

  • gypski®

    The GOP and the policies and actions set up by the Bush/Cheney et al Cabal that undermined our government and continues to do so on a daily basis. They should all be arrested post haste.

  • Anonymous

    let it go! it would be a good time for the rebellion to begin here as elsewhere.

    here is the larger picture… wonder how the US govt is going to respond when this happens right here? when a million americans are closing in on washington, DC? when NYC, Chicago, LA and elsewhere are in open revolt. these are igniting by food riots and then evolve. by a year from now, the extended benefits for the jobless are done…

    america now has 9.4% jobless still getting an unemployment check and another 9.6% jobless no longer gettign a check. 19% of a would-be workforce of 160 million americans means 30 million jobless and their 60-70mln dependents, almost 1/3 of america. 147,000 young try entering the workforce monthly and in this whole past decade; the USA has barely averaged that many total jobs available monthly… a tragically lost generation.

    plainly, the assets of all the fallen firms and their execs had to be seized; not ‘baled out.’ had that been done, there would’ve been the money needed… the only conceivable way to put the country back to work was a $4-6 trillion, 4-6 year crash program to back a million or more new startup businesses…

    so imagine our shock when wife and i presented SBA with 4 sound, detailed business plans after the ‘stimulus’ came out… only to find that NOT A SINGLE THIN ROOSEVELT DIME WAS GIVEN SBA FOR STARTUPS!!!

    now there is no money. worse, bush having doubled the national debt to over 12.7 trillion and still soaring under obamabush… no one will be lending more. GAO acknowledges that it will require heavy finagling just to pay the interest on the debt by 2013! no more $3 trillion loans from the communist party of china like bush got. indeed, china now says america is not good for that debt.

    last april and again last month, IMF announced that it is working to rapidly replace the USD as the standard currency of the world, due to concerns of OPEC/EU/PRC… with the ‘bancmark,’ a further power grab by IMF/worldbanc/WTO…

    as stansberry of stansberry investments (one of the very few who foresaw and forewarned his investors of the coming crash of 2008), sees, when that happens later this year or early 2012 (‘the end of the world as we know it’?), the USD will immediately devalue to nothingness. and the fed will no longer be able to print air-money as it has since the fall of the british pound sterling in the 1950s. hyper-inflation ensues; food riots and martial law as the country begins to disintegrate soviet union style.

    the sole remaining card left for the US govt to play will be its massive military might… since 2006 more costly than the militarism of the rest of the planet combined… 9% increase this year in the midst of growing depression…

    but lacking any tax base… can even that might maintain control here? how about abroad with our endless wars, torture chamber network and 770 military bases?

    will this govt contract ‘cornered cat syndrome; ‘if we can’t have it nobody can’?

    stansberry’s advice is the same as it was in 2006… convert stocks to gold. my advice is that, lacking any stocks or cash to convert… steal a car; pack up the family and RUN FOR THE HILLS! this is going to get very, very ugly round heah.

  • Anonymous

    please… partisan myopia brings on boozy double-vision and what is really just one entity is seen as two… this is one of the chief means of effecting that you CAN fool ENOUGH of the people ENOUGH of the time.

  • http://www.lynchgraphics.com David Lynch

    More pollshit. I think the GOP would suffer the same bad press they received in 1995.

  • Anonymous

    Considering Obama told the Republicans beforehand he’d veto the budget bill if it contains partisan language the Republicans know full well they have the rest of the year to pursue their agenda but they are stupid enough to test it.

  • Anonymous

    Keep in mind, the public used to be “sharply divided” on unions too. Then this recent Republican plot to destroy them began, and now people support them by over 60%.

  • Stephen Martin

    Ok it’s not just me.

  • Anonymous

    Blame? Responsibility for good government traces ultimately to its citizenry. We all learned this in 7th grade, I know, but do we live by it?

    Wisconsinites are now embracing this inescapable truth, as are Egyptians, Libyans, Tunisians, and Bahrainians.

    Nobody’s going to come along and set us free. We either do it ourselves, or we accept the ‘enslavement by debt’ society our behind-the-scenes keepers have constructed for us.

  • cannotvote

    One bird,two wings – how’s that!

  • Anonymous

    They’re to blame and we’re to blame for allowing them to be there to be blamed in the first place.

  • cannotvote

    No it is just you and me, plus all the other you’s and me’s!
    Elitist scumbags concocted all this
    devolution – but the ‘front’ of it all is best personified in the slimey visages of the rethugs – imagine it would be a little different if Gore were elected, which we know he was but the corrupted supreme court, and faux news said otherwise – remember who called it – probably not! The American mindset is so unhinged in a mass denial that it’s going to take a collapse of the dollar to wake you all up – idjiots! Wake up and do something before then – you and all your pathetic ‘right to bare arms’ crap, go roll you sleeves up and do something – fuggin’ bunch of wankers!

  • cannotvote


  • http://twitter.com/VaginaHedgeFund Lloyd Blankfein

    I’ll be happy to see the government shutdown. No blame necessary, only a congratulation is deserved.

  • Anonymous

    Their monstrous lies are steadily being exposed, and at the same time many important truths are being spread — take for example James Corbett’s “The Last Word on Terrorism,” which everyone should see:


    People are slowly beginning to wake up.

  • cannotvote

    A fine example, cheers!

  • Guest

    I wonder…which party constantly denigrates public employees and democratic fundamentals? Hmmm…it’s such a mystery, I just can’t figure it out!!! :O

  • Anonymous

    America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
    Abraham Lincoln

  • realnewz

    Well I’d blame the govt and the politicans/corps that support it.
    Obviously they are not funding the govt.
    The money is being pocketed.

  • Anonymous

    and a vulture, a buzzard or a dodo.

  • Stephen Martin

    Here’s the deal. There is great disparity is what to do next. This is a class war. Put those who are not paying taxes back into the 50% tax bracket (like the good old days all those people seemingly yearn for), and at least put a band aid on what is becoming a real issue of have vs. have nots developing in the US.

    Trust me, when the doughnut hole in the govt. occurs, don’t wait too long for “private contractors” to bid to run public services. Terrible idea. It’s become “I have mine so I’m ok, fuck you” style mentality btw the very wealthy who are running the country and infiltrated in the White House. They need to get with it. I talk to a wide range of people here in LA and Detroit, and NO one is happy with this whole Union (and amounts to) a worker/civil rights issue. Taking away collective bargaining is busting the union. Why don’t those ball less twits like Governor Walker just come out and say what his real game playing is all about. He was even punked into admitting it when he got a prank call from one of the infamous Koch Brothers. Too much influence in too few hands, all with their own personal interests in mind. They don’t care if your family eats or not. They don’t care if you’re 50, no money for retirement or proper medical care.

    What if someone like a Koch Brother actually sat across from you face to face and actually said what they really are up to? I see someone on the ground, and it’s not me.

  • Anonymous

    If anyone in Washington was really concerned with the deficit they would end the damn unnecessary wars, cut the defense budget and END THE BUSH TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH!!!!!!!!! So I guess everyone who refuses to see what they should be doing is to blame. Their corporate puppet masters have won again! So why bother with all the discussion about how to cut the budget. If you wanted to cut it without cutting any social programs it would be done!

  • Guest

    Agreed. No other way.

  • Anonymous

    Polling is a republican tool for deflecting and shaping. Don’t buy into it. They use the media to dissemble and misdirect. Look at the proliferation of the happy dancing elephant GE commercials. Subliminal messaging to make the GOP look acceptable and lovable. Don’t buy it. They are slavemasters. They are deliberately destroying the economy so they can rebuild it without the pesky bill of rights and impose Amercan empire and hegemony on the world by force of arms.

  • Guest

    WELL SAID, Kurt_O!!!

  • Guest

    WOW!!! Great link!!!

  • Guest

    People always speak like this who feel helpless and feel ashamed they haven’t done anything themselves.

  • Guest

    “What if someone like a Koch Brother actually sat across from you face to face and actually said what they really are up to? I see someone on the ground, and it’s not me.”

    Don’t want to think of that… bad for the liver.

  • ladygeek

    I don’t know but I remember back in the late ’60′s and early ’70′s we all saw the subliminal messaging in commercials doing the same thing. And in fact, subliminal messaging was made illegal as a result.

    Nothing new here, move along please

  • ladygeek

    Keep in mind that alot of people who are now grown ups were educated under the Raygun administration’s and further repuke administrations did not want educated citizens which is why they dropped civics classes as mandatory in public schools. Also declared ketchup as a vegetable.

  • ladygeek

    You can find more detail and that also describes the economic imperialism that is being fought against us in Disaster Capitalism: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. Once you read that, you’ll understand how this whole plot started and that we are now dealing with

  • Anonymous

    “If the two parties don’t reach a deal by Friday to continue funding the government, a shutdown would occur. It would likely halt government services like health care, delay passport applications, and result in the closure of national parks, museums and monuments.”

    That is not correct saying health services would be shut down, there have been studies done, the only thing that would shut down is the parks and monuments and thats it.

    But hey don’t listen to me feel free to act like maniacs and freak out over nothing, same reason you got TSA sticking their hands down your pants.

  • ladygeek

    I have heard “the revolution is coming” and “run for the mountains with all your stuff” for decades now. I’ve lived in those mountainous areas and I’ve heard how the survivalists are stocking up. I lived through the bomb shelter period. I’m not that depressed about all of this. I think that the people who are now practicing non-violent demonstrations will continue to gain more and more support and then we can get control of the seats of government instead of continuing to give control back to the capitalists which is what they really are.

  • Anonymous

    Ok so if Republicans are slave-masters what are democrats?

  • Stephen Martin

    The Liver?

  • Guest

    Emotions like anger will harm the liver. One of the things they say about alcoholics is they are extremely angry. Anger is bad for the liver and the heart. In Eastern medicine (TCM< Traditional Chinese Medicine) the liver is the mother of the heart. To be more specific, I should say; in the Five Element Theory, the wood element is the mother of the fire element. The liver is wood and the heart is fire.


  • Wyrdless

    I agree with a lot of your assessment especially the issue of tax base versus unemployment, however I disagree with some of the particulars:

    The USA is still one of the worlds top manufacturers, with a lot of knowledge and talent (albeit eroding) and is still one of the worlds top food producers, so there are the tools present to rebuild the country. Also Americans in general have more stuff lying around to weather a financial storm than ever before and Americans will be better off than most other countries if the dollar collapsed everyone will suffer.

    Keep in mind, China is printing money in tandem with the USA to maintain the exchange rate, we are exporting inflation to them, literally, and China will have more social unrest than us if they have a financial disruption. So who knows what can happen there.

    Part of the American story is that we rose to prominence becasue US was the only manufacturing base in the world, with Europe in ruins. That imbalance has been unwinding ever since, we just need to readjust.

    The world has never ended before, and it won’t happen now. Dollar devaluation is inevitable, serfdom is not.

  • Anonymous

    ANYONE pushing the DEM -vs- REP, LIB -vs- CON, Right -vs- Left, are the ones to blame.

    If they aren’t talking about human rights or freedoms, then they are on the wrong side.

  • Anonymous

    dream on… armagedonists with 22,400 nukes on a planet where just 400 would
    destroy all life its surface for eons. 26 global environmental disasters
    converging rapidly into catastrophe. drastically-increasing poverty, humgry,
    homeless, bankruptcies, foreclosures, suicides… UN estmaates 7-9mln dying
    now due to teh schemed economic disaster to increase the numbers of
    permanent underclass while reducing the numbers of the self-annointed
    ‘elite.’ and you think everything is just fine? UN in 1972 estimated the
    population of the earth in 2000 would be 5.4 billion. i was watching pop
    clock when it hit 6bln in oct 99. look at it now, honey {
    http://opr.princeton.edu/popclock/} it was just 1bln in 1900… race of
    moron ignorant lemmings, locusts, hyena, ostriches. which are you? oh,
    you’re the guy with the SUV awaiting peak oil and happy to be ‘top of the
    food chain’? well, happy times what with the bee-bat-butterfly extinctions.
    was einstein said “4 years without bees and there will be no life on the
    surface of the earth.” do you think better than ol a-bomb albert?

  • Anonymous

    wyrdless one, whom i recognize… sorry to say, yours is misguided optimism.
    the USA now produces damned little. vietnam makes more and largely,
    better… though they will never make a harley or a zippo…

    we still survive with 1/6 of workers idled due, as you correctly point out,
    to ‘having lots of stuff lying around.’ but, in 1916, germany had ‘lots of
    stuff lying around,’ too. look at germany in 1921.

    and no, stansberry and IMF are distinctly stating that it will not be the
    rest of the world, just the US which suffers from ‘bancmark’ and what
    follows. THe US govt has signed our names to over $15bln in debt at federal
    level and 5 more in state and local and it is not and never wil or can be
    repaid, hence bankrupt… GAO, as i said, declared in 2007 that interest
    payments would be nearly impossible by 2013 and the situation has
    definitively worsened since.

    it was china urged IMF to act as it is now doing due to the PRC seeing that
    the uSA can never repay even the interest on the $3trillion bush borrowed
    from them.

    the US rose to prominence solely on the basis of the extermination of some
    15mln native people who lived in what we garbage now call ‘america.’ that
    and the 8mln africans we killed in order to bring 12mln here in abject
    slavery to build the white christian’s country on the lands stolen from the
    rightful owners.

    it’s been a looong time since this was the land of milk and honey or ‘yanke
    ingenuity.’ and it needs to collapse in order to save us, the world from
    holocaust, and mother nature from our corporations.

    your seeming optimism is actually a hope that the US can continue its
    endless wars, tortures, exploitation of worker and the virulent destruction
    of ma nature. you should perhaps re-focus your thinking and realize that
    ‘the end of the world as we know it’ is the only hope of our species and

    those who want their SUV’s filled with gasoline forever are wearing
    eye-patches. prozac-mall-america is done just hasn’t been buried yet… but
    stinks like a corpse.

  • Anonymous

    tom hayden after he stopped believeing he could ‘work within the system’…
    said “when we failed to pull off our revolution in 1968, we became a
    generation of might-have-beens.” and look at the consequences of that
    failure… endless wars by america have cost some 20mln lives by direct
    cause of military/foreign policy since… 22,400 nukes on a world destroyed
    by just 400… and israel has 200 BIG ones. and look at nature, workers,
    poor, vast prison complex as racist as nazi germany, israel or apartheid
    south africa.

    complacency is a nursing home of the apathetic who yawn, watch the war
    re-runs and take a psych drug.

  • Anonymous

    Who has refused to move and who has been threatening to shut the government down? DUH?