Americans want budget compromise not government shutdown

On Tuesday morning, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rolled out the House GOP’s “budget blueprint” for 2012. Meanwhile, the White House and the GOP-controlled House still have not reached an agreement on how to to continue funding the government through the end of the current fiscal year, which ends in September.

Both sides have stated the desire to reach a compromise before the April 8 deadline, in an effort to avoid a federal government shutdown. However, as The New York Times reported Tuesday, the White House rejected an offer from Republicans to keep the government’s doors open for one more week in exchange for another $12 billion cut from the current year’s spending. Obama and Senate Democrats have agreed to cut $33 billion, $1 billion more than the House GOP originally asked for in February.

A poll from the Pew Research Center released Monday shows that the American people overwhelming favor a budget compromise over a shutdown, despite various pushes for a government shutdown in the name of effective political strategy from people such as Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

Where Americans’ opinions differ is on whom should shoulder the blame in the event of a shutdown, congressional Republicans or the Obama administration.

According to Pew, 39 percent of the 1,507 Americans polled from March 30-April 3 believe Republicans would be the most to blame for a government shutdown; while 36 percent believe the Obama administration should take most of the heat. Those who believe both sides should be blamed equally make up 16 percent of respondents, while 9 percent said “neither” or that they did not know.

Asked if “lawmakers who share your views on this issue should stand by their principles, even if it means the government shuts down,” 36 percent of those polled agreed with this statement, while 55 percent said lawmakers agreeing with their views should “be more willing to compromise even if they pass budget you disagree with.” Those who didn’t know made up 10 percent.

Breaking it down along party lines, 50 percent of republicans voters said their party lawmakers should stand by their principles, while 43 percent said they should compromise. Among those who identify as Democrats, 69 percent were in favor of a compromise vs. 21 percent. Among Republicans who agree with the tea party, 26 percent said they were in favor of a compromise vs. 68 who said they favored a shutdown.

Pew points out that these opinions are much different today than they were during a similar budget/government shutdown dispute in 1995, when polled in a Washington Post/ABC News survey shortly before the government actually shut down. At that time, 46 percent of Americans polled said Republicans would be at fault in the event of a shutdown, while 27 percent blamed the Clinton administration.