POLL: Just one in four approves of Republicans’ handling of government shutdown standoff

September 30, 2013

On the eve of a government shutdown, Americans disapprove of all players in Washington's latest budget standoff in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, although they save particular ire for Republicans' handling of the fight to fund the government beyond midnight.

Barely one in four (26 percent) approve of congressional Republicans' handling of budget negotiations, while 34 percent approve of their Democratic counterparts and 41 percent approve of Obama's approach. In each case, larger numbers say they "disapprove" of how Republicans, Democrats and Obama are handling things. Underscoring the disgruntled mood, 27 percent of Americans disapprove of all three.


The poll shows a stronger hand for Obama than a Post-ABC poll earlier this month, where similar numbers of respondents said they trust Obama (43 percent) and congressional Republicans (40 percent) to better handle negotiations over the federal budget.

Republicans' weaker standing stems from lower marks from political independents, but also fellow Republicans.

Only about a third of independents approve of Obama's work on the budget (34 percent), but an even smaller 21 percent support congressional Republicans (congressional Democrats fall in the middle at 27 percent).

And while Obama wins approval from 71 percent of Democrats for his handling of budget negotiations, just 56 percent of Republicans say the same of their party's members of Congress. Four in 10 Democrats strongly back Obama, about double the number of Republicans staunchly behind their leaders (19 percent).

The lack of party unity is far from new for Republicans. In a July Post-ABC poll, 52 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents said their leaders are taking the party in the wrong direction, up 20 percentage points from one year before. Dissatisfaction among Republicans was more than double the level Democrats expressed with their party's leadership.

See full interactive results from the poll including group breakdowns. 

Peyton M. Craighill contributed to this report. 

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Chris Cillizza · September 30, 2013