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Government Shutdown? Not Over Obamacare, Polls Say

A new survey shows that a majority of Americans want Congress to keep the government running and deal with Obamacare separately.
J. Scott Applewhite
A new survey shows that a majority of Americans want Congress to keep the government running and deal with Obamacare separately.

A new poll released Tuesday shows that a clear majority of Americans want Congress to keep the federal government operating and deal with President Obama's health care law separately.

According to a United Technologies/National Journal poll taken Sept. 19-22, 63 percent of respondents — and 51 percent of Republicans — said Congress should provide the funding necessary to keep the government open, rather than shut it down in an attempt to defund Obamacare.

The poll follows on the heels of a CNBC survey released Monday, which found that 59 percent of Americans oppose shutting down the government and risking a default over the Affordable Care Act. That poll was conducted Sept. 16-19.

But if Obama and congressional Republicans cannot reach a budget agreement by Oct. 1 and the government shuts down, there's no certainty that the GOP will get all the blame: a Pew Research poll released Monday suggests the public would hold both accountable.

The Pew survey, conducted Sept. 19-22, shows 39 percent of Americans would hold the GOP responsible for a government shutdown, while 36 percent would fault the Obama administration. Seventeen percent would place the blame on both.

The poll also reveals the American public isn't overly optimistic that Obama and the Republicans will agree on a continuing budget resolution in time to avoid a shutdown. Asked if the two sides will strike a deal by the end of the month, 46 percent believed they would, and 45 percent believed they would not.

The Pew survey marks a departure from an early September CNN poll that found that 51 percent of Americans would blame Republicans for a shutdown, compared with 33 percent for Obama.

On Friday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a stopgap budget measure to keep the government open through mid-December that also removes funding for Obamacare. The bill moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate this week.

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Adam Wollner
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