Harris Poll: Americans Expect Another Government Shutdown

Image: Harris Poll: Americans Expect Another Government Shutdown

Wednesday, 27 Nov 2013 05:12 PM

By Cathy Burke

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With the government set to run out of money Jan. 15, a vast majority of Americans think the nation is probably grinding toward another shutdown, a Harris poll has found.

In the poll released Tuesday, seven in 10 Americans say they think a shutdown is likely, while just one in five thinks the nation will avoid that outcome.

The poll found Republicans were more likely than either Democrats or independents to be pessimistic about the financial future, with 79 percent saying they think a shutdown is likely, compared with 64 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of independents.

Americans are also concerned about raising the federal debt ceiling, which will again be reached Feb. 7 — with 50 percent of those polled saying they don't think it should be raised anymore, 26 percent saying the borrowing limit should be lifted, and 24 percent unsure, the poll found.

But on the debt ceiling, the partisan difference is striking.

"There is a huge partisan difference here," Regina Corso, senior vice president at Harris, told the Washington Times, noting that 72 percent of Republicans think the debt ceiling should not be raised, compared to 32 percent of Democrats.

"While another government shutdown appears likely to Americans, defaulting does not," she said. "Almost half of Americans — 46 percent — say it's not likely the government will default and not raise the debt ceiling, while one-third say it is likely the United States will default. Nineteen percent are not sure."

The partial government shutdown lasted a grueling 16 days, ending Oct. 17. Standard and Poor's estimated it took $24 billion out of the economy, and it sent the public's opinion of Congress into another dive.

The gloom-and-doom pessimism could put a crimp in holiday spending, the poll noted.

Just over half of U.S. adults — 53 percent — say they'll shell out less on holiday presents because of the uncertainty, and 45 percent say they'll be less likely to do any year-end charitable giving because of the potential government shutdown.

The survey was conducted Nov. 13-18. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated, Harris said.

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