Americans split over government shutdown: poll

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 8:35 EDT
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WASHINGTON — Americans are split over a looming government shutdown, with a slight majority viewing it as a positive step towards reining in runaway debt, a poll found Wednesday.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that 46 percent view a shutdown as a “good thing” while 44 percent oppose it because it would result in the loss of public services.

But if the government is shut down, 47 percent of Americans would blame Republicans while just 38 percent would blame President Barack Obama, it said.

The poll found Americans were similarly divided on the hot-button issue of collective bargaining for public employees, with 45 percent saying it should be limited and 42 percent opposing such limits.

Forty-two percent of respondents said government workers are paid too much, while 15 percent said they were paid too little and 35 percent said their pay was “about right,” according to the poll.

“There is a partisan tinge to American voter attitudes toward government workers,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the polling institute.

“By wide margins, Republicans say these workers are overpaid; want them to pay more for their benefits and want to limit collective bargaining.”

The Republican-led House of Representatives approved a stopgap spending measure on Tuesday to avert a government shutdown and give polarized lawmakers two more weeks to grope toward a lasting compromise.

The Democrat-held Senate was to vote on the measure on Wednesday.

The nationwide belt-tightening has meanwhile pitted unions against protesters in Wisconsin and other cash-strapped states that are considering legislation to curtail collective bargaining.

Quinnipiac University conducted the survey February 21-28 among 1,887 registered voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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