Many Americans still expect Congress to reach a deal to avoid a government shutdown, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted over the weekend. But more than a quarter of Americans think that each side actually wants to cause a shutdown.
According to the new poll, 44 percent of Americans said they expect a deal to avoid a shutdown, while 26 percent said that they think President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress won't reach a deal and the government will shut down. Another 30 percent said they weren't sure.
The expectation that the two sides will reach a deal has decreased since earlier this month, however. A HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted Sept. 18-19 found that 55 percent of respondents expected a deal to be reached, while only 18 percent said that they expected a shutdown. Americans are also paying more attention to the possibility of a shutdown now than they were in the previous poll, as 58 percent said that they had heard a lot about the possibility in the latest poll, compared to 35 percent who said so in the previous survey.
In the latest survey, 31 percent of respondents said that they think Republicans in Congress actually want a shutdown, while 26 percent said the same of Obama and Democrats in Congress. But respondents were more likely to give both sides the benefit of the doubt, as 56 percent said that Obama and Democrats in Congress want to avoid a shutdown, compared to 47 percent who said the same of Republicans.
Members of both parties were most likely to say in the poll that their side wants to avoid a shutdown but to express suspicions about the other side. Republicans said by a 68 percent to 14 percent margin that Republicans in Congress want to avoid a shutdown, but were slightly more likely to say Democrats want to cause a shutdown than avoid one, 43 percent to 39 percent.
Democrats, on the other hand, said by a 79 percent to 9 percent margin that Democrats in Congress want to avoid a shutdown and by a 49 percent to 33 percent margin that Republicans in Congress want to cause one.
Independents in the poll were most likely to think both parties would prefer to avoid rather than cause a shutdown, by a 48 percent to 26 percent margin for Republicans and by a 47 percent to 30 percent margin for Democrats.
A CNN survey released earlier Monday found that most think members of Congress on both sides are behaving like "spoiled children" in the budget battle.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents to the new HuffPost/YouGov poll said that a government shutdown would hurt the economy, including 40 percent who said it would hurt a lot. And 42 percent said that a government shutdown would hurt them personally. Those numbers are similar to the percentage who said the same in the previous HuffPost/YouGov poll, although the number of those who said that it would hurt them personally was down from 50 percent in the previous poll.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Sept. 28-29 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.