Washington (CNN) – With a possible federal government shutdown just one week away, a new national survey indicates that Americans say such a shutdown would be bad for the country.
And according to a CNN/ORC International poll, if a shutdown happens, the public would hold President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans equally responsible.
The current measure that funds the federal government expires March 27, and a partial government shutdown would occur if a new funding authorization isn't in place by next Thursday. The measure, called a continuing resolution, would authorize government funding for the remaining six months of the fiscal year. Members of Congress are trying this week to lock in a such a spending plan, which would also soften the blow of separate forced federal spending cuts that kicked in on March 1.
This would be the second straight month the country's faced a serious fiscal crisis, following last month's battle over the forced spending cuts, known inside the Beltway as the sequester.
Sixty-four percent of those questioned in the poll say that a government shutdown for a few days would be bad for the country. Three quarters of Democrats and a solid majority of independent voters feel this way, but Republicans are split on the question. If a government shutdown lasted for a few weeks, the percentage of Americans who say it would be bad for the country rises to 78%.
"But the difference this time is that President Obama seems much less likely to win the blame game if a shutdown occurs," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In 2011, nearly half were ready to blame the GOP if a shutdown occurred, compared to only a third who would have blamed Obama."
Now, four in ten say they would hold the GOP in Congress as more responsible for a government shutdown, with a similar amount, 38%, saying the president would be more responsible. Nearly one in five say they would point fingers at both sides.
"This may weaken the president's bargaining position in the coming days, although he remains more popular than House Speaker John Boehner," adds Holland.
Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, has a 34% favorable rating in the new poll, with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell holding a 24% favorable rating.
But it's worth noting that Democratic congressional leaders don't fare much better. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's favorable rating stands at 23% and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is at 32%, with half saying they have an unfavorable view of the top Democrat in the House.
"It's always important to remember that blame is not always a zero-sum game - there is more than enough to go around," says Holland.
Nearly three-quarters of those questioned say they are dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed.
"That's a new high for that number - a few points higher than when Gallup asked it in 2006, 2008 and 2010, and substantially higher than the 66% that Gallup found in 1973 during the depths of the Watergate crisis," adds Holland.
The survey also finds former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a 63%-33% favorable/unfavorable rating, former Sen. John Kerry, who succeeded Clinton as secretary of state at 46%-35% and nearly one in five unsure, Vice President Joe Biden at 44%-43% and 13% unsure, and House Whip Eric Cantor (the number two Republican in the chamber) at 14%-21%, with nearly two thirds unsure.
The CNN poll was conducted March 15-17 by ORC International, with 1,021 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.