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Poll finds strong support for budget deal that averted government shutdown

The CNN/Opinion Research survey finds that 58% of Americans approve of the budget compromise, while 38% disapprove. President Obama and congressional Democrats get more credit than Republicans for the deal.

April 11, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington — Americans overwhelmingly approve of the budget agreement that averted a government shutdown, and credit Democrats more so than Republicans for reaching the compromise, a new poll finds.

The CNN/Opinion Research survey, conducted Saturday and Sunday, is one of the first released after Friday's last-minute compromise between House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House.

It found that 58% of Americans approve of the compromise, while 38% disapprove and 5% had no opinion. That includes two-thirds of all Democrats and 56% of independents. But Republicans were split on the deal, with 47% approving and 49% disapproving.

Forty-eight percent of respondents say President Obama and congressional Democrats are more responsible for the agreement, while 35% credit Republicans and 11% say they share equally. Obama personally gets good marks for his handling of the negotiations — 54% approve, while only 44% approved of how the respective party leaders in Congress handled them.

On some of the most contentious issues that held up an agreement, voters tended to side with Democrats. Only a third of voters support eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Even fewer — 28% — favored legislation to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from spending money to enforce greenhouse gas regulations. About four-in-10 respondents support blocking funds for the implementation of Obama's healthcare law.

Though a shutdown never came to be, 24% say they would have viewed one as a crisis, and 39% said it would have been a major problem. So-called "tea party" supporters were the least likely to say a shutdown would have been a problem — 22% say it would not have been a problem at all, and 32% say it would have been only a minor problem.

The budget debate appears to have taken a small toll on Obama's overall popularity, though. His approval rating dropped from 51% in March to 48% in the new survey, a result that is within the margin of error. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has an approval rating of 41%, while 44% disapprove.

michael.memoli@latimes.com

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