Offered a chance to characterize in a single word the budget negotiations in Washington that narrowly pushed off a government shutdown, the vast majority of Americans in a new poll conducted by The Washington Post and the Pew Research Center had something negative to say.
Fully 69 percent had a negative word in mind about the budget fight; a slender 3 percent had something nice to say. Some offered words unfit for print.
The question was asked Saturday and Sunday following the deal that sliced about $38 billion from thus year’s budget. “Ridiculous” topped the list of one-word descriptors, followed by ”disgusting” and “messy.”
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Majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents alike offered negative initial reactions to the negotiations.
The full poll — conducted Thursday through Sunday — also evidenced the risk for political leaders on both sides of the aisle.
Thirty-seven percent said they place “a lot” of blame with congressional Republicans for the near-shutdown, 33 percent said so of Democratic leadership, 32 percent of President Obama and 27 percent of representatives affiliated with the tea party political movement. Add in at least “some” blame, and majorities find each party culpable.
Parallel Post and Pew polls a week earlier showed prospective blame about equally divided between the Republicans and Obama.
The new poll finds predictable partisan gaps: a big majority of Republicans pointing the finger at Obama and the Democrats, and most Democrats blaming the GOP and the tea party-affiliated representatives.
But some shifts belie simple partisan reaction.
Overall, the numbers blaming Obama, congressional Democrats and tea party representatives for their part in the narrowly averted shutdown were all higher in the final two days of interviews than in the first two. In the interviews conducted following the late-night deal, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents became more apt to blame both congressional Democrats and Obama than they were in the early polling.