On the eve of likely the first government shutdown in 17 years, Americans are split on whom to blame – President Barack Obama or House Republican lawmakers. The sparring between the two sides about whether or not to fund the government past Oct. 1 has turned on Republican insistence the president's signature domestic policy, the Affordable Care Act, be cut off from funding, while Obama has refused to see it weakened.
The House doubled-down on their position during a late-night Saturday, early-morning Sunday morning series of votes, while Senate Democrats are expected to pass a measure Monday that simply extends spending for all programs for a limited time. If the two sides fail to reconcile – as it appears they will – a partial government shutdown will begin at 12:00 am Tuesday, Oct. 1.
According to a CNN poll released Monday, 46 percent said they would blame congressional Republicans for a government shutdown and 36 percent said they would blame the president. About 13 percent said they would blame both sides.
When it comes to perceptions, about half of the public said Obama is "acting like a responsible adult" and half said he was acting like "a spoiled child."
But the image is worse for Congress.
While nearly 60 percent of those surveyed said congressional Democrats are playing the role of spoiled child, about 70 percent say that of congressional Republicans. Just 25 percent say members of the GOP are acting like responsible adults, according to the poll.
The public is also pretty united in believing that a government shutdown is bad for the country – 68 percent said even a shutdown for a couple of days would be bad and nearly 80 percent said a shutdown lasting a few weeks would be bad.
But public opinion on the law at the crux of the political sparring on Capitol Hill is mixed. While recent polling shows a majority of Americans remain opposed to the 2010 law scheduled for further implementation in 2014, other polling shows the public also doesn't think Congress should spend time working to repeal it.
The poll surveyed 803 adults from Sept. 27-29, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.