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Polls: GOP takes more blame for shutdown impasse

3:56 PM, Oct 7, 2013   |    comments
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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 limit.

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.

Treasury 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 care law.

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.

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