Washington (CNN) - A new poll suggests that Americans are divided over whom to blame if there's a government shutdown.
Thirty-six percent of the public says congressional Republicans would be at fault if the two political parties can't reach a deal in time to avoid a temporary shutdown of federal government services, with 35 percent saying they'd blame President Obama's administration, according to a Washington Post-Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday. Seventeen percent questioned say both sides would be equally at blame.
The poll indicates that independent votes would blame the president by a 37-32 percent margin.
The results of the survey are in line with a USA Today/Gallup survey released last Thursday, which indicated that the public is divided over whether Obama and Democrats or Republicans in Congress are doing a better job in the battle over the federal budget. Forty-two percent of people questioned in that poll said that Republicans are doing a better job handling the budget crisis, with 39 percent giving the nod to the president and Democrats. Sixteen percent are unsure. The GOP's 3-point advantage was within the survey's sampling error.
By a 37-33 percent margin, independent voters questioned in the USA Today/Gallup poll said that Republicans are doing a better job.
The House and Senate are expected to approve a short-term bill this week that would avert a government shutdown until at least March 18, but the compromise could be only a temporary reprieve in the battle between Democrats and Republicans over spending cuts.
According to the survey, nearly six in ten say congressional Republicans are playing politics, with one in three saying they are honestly trying to resolve the budget issue. By a 49-47 percent margin, those questioned say the Obama administration's playing politics rather than honestly trying to solve the budget issue.
The Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll was conducted February 24-27, with 1,009 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
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