More than half of Americans blame US president Donald Trump for the partial federal government shutdown, despite his repeatedly faulting democratic lawmakers, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.
The January 8-14 national opinion poll found that 51 per cent of US adults blame Trump, about the same proportion as a similar poll that ran in the first week of January. Thirty-four per cent blamed democrats in Congress and 6 per cent blamed Republicans in Congress.
The shutdown dragged into its 25th day on Tuesday with neither Trump nor democratic congressional leaders showing signs of bending on the topic that triggered it - funding for the wall Trump promised to build along the border with Mexico as part of his hard line policy on immigration.
The shutdown began on December 22 after Congress did not follow through on Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to help build a new barrier. Chances of funding the border wall became even more remote in January when democrats, who are largely opposed to a wall, took control of the US House of Representatives.
Republicans held onto the majority in the US Senate following congressional elections last November in which they lost their majority in the House.
On December 11, in Trump’s first encounter with the congressional leaders of the newly empowered democrats, he appeared eager to take responsibility for any government shutdown.
‘I will be the one to shut it down,’ Trump told democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in a meeting that was nationally televised. ‘I’m not going to blame you for it.’
He has since tried to shift that blame.
Trump delivered a nationally televised address restating his case for the wall. He has visited the border and routinely taken to Twitter to vent about the democrats’ refusal to cooperate.
‘At this point, it has become their and the democrats, fault,’ Trump tweeted on Monday.
According to the poll, about 43 per cent of the public supports additional border fencing, and 25 per cent support shutting the government down until the funding is approved.
Numerous federal agencies have partially closed or asked contractors to stop working. Coast Guard personnel are working without pay, the National Park Service has stopped collecting trash, and the Smithsonian museums have closed their doors to the public.
The White House estimated the shutdown is costing the American economy 0.13 per cent point in growth every week.
The poll also found that nearly four in 10 adults in the United States say they are either personally affected by the partial US government shutdown or they know someone who is.
More than 2,000 respondents were asked whether their family had lost any income, expected to lose income or relied on any government services that had been shut down. The poll also asked if respondents ‘personally know someone’ who had lost income, expected to lose income, or relied on government services that are now closed.
Altogether, 38 per cent said they met at least one of those conditions. Thirty-seven per cent said they have not been affected by the shutdown, and 25 per cent said they do not know.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 2,343 adults, including 1,016 democrats, 787 republicans, and 321 independents. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 2 per cent points.
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