WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) -- Americans are blaming Republicans for the partial
government shutdown, two new polls find as the budget stand-off veers
closer to the deadline for raising the nation's $16.7 trillion debt
Seven in 10 adults disapprove of the way Republicans are
handling themselves in the wrangling over funding the government,
according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday. That's a 7-point jump since last week and includes 59% of Americans who identify themselves as conservatives.
President Obama and Democrats don't escape unscathed in the ABC News/Washington Post
survey. More than half, or 51%, say they don't approve of the way Obama
is handling the budget stand-off and 61% say the same thing about his
party's allies in Congress.
The findings of a Pew Research Center poll, also released Monday, are more closely divided. Nearly 4 in 10, or 38%,
of Americans blame Republicans for the shutdown, which entered its
second week on Monday without any real progress in sight. That compares
to 30% who put blame on Obama, 19% who say both the White House and congressional Republicans share responsibility and 13% who say they don't know.
Secretary Jack Lew warned Sunday that Congress is "playing with fire"
as the federal government approaches the Oct. 17 deadline for increasing
the nation's borrowing authority.
House Speaker John Boehner,
R-Ohio, wants to pass a budget to reopen the government and raise the
debt limit in the same piece of legislation. He's also seeking support
from Democrats on ways to reduce the deficit and affect Obama's health
Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling said Monday Obama
will not negotiate on the debt ceiling because the president believes it
would set a precedent that threatening default could be used as
leverage in long-term budget negotiations.
Both polls surveyed at least 1,000 Americans through Sunday. The margin of error in both polls was +/- 3.5 percentage points.