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We Now Know How Americans Feel About a Potential Government Shutdown, and It's Pretty Clear Who They'd Blame

A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll found that most Americans would blame Trump and the Republicans, not congressional Democrats, for the government shutdown the president has threatened if Congress does not agree to his demand for $5 billion in funding for a wall along our nation's southern border.

54 percent of those surveyed said they are completely opposed to a government shutdown, with only 29 percent saying they would support it. Moreover, 43 percent said they would blame the president and the Republican party for a shutdown while only 24 percent said they would hold Democrats equally responsible. 30 percent of those surveyed said they would hold both parties equally responsible.


Most Democrats (83 percent to 6 percent) are utterly opposed to a shutdown. Independents are also largely opposed (56 percent to 22 percent). Two-thirds of Republicans say they support a government shutdown, however.

Blame, according to the poll, also has "a partisan bent." 81 percent of Democrats say they would blame Republicans for a shutdown. Likewise, 58 percent of Republicans say they would blame Democrats. 43 percent of independent voters say they would blame both parties equally.

Among the survey's respondents: Dave Dobrin, a 60-year-old retired computer analyst and political independent who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Dobrin had harsh words for the president.

"Completely, it's Donald Trump's fault," he said. "He has the emotional maturity of a 6-year-old, and he is going to have a tantrum if he doesn't get his way."

Dwayne Pyle, a sewer-line maintenance worker and Republican who voted for Trump, sees things a little differently.

"We hired him to do a job. We didn't hire him to make everybody happy or appease people," he said.

President Trump, who claimed last week that he would be "proud" to shut down the government over the border wall dispute, has offered no clear plan.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has called on Republicans to rein the president in.

"They just have to have the guts to tell President Trump he's off the deep end here and all he is going to get with his temper tantrum is a shutdown," Schumer said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "He will not get a wall."

Schumer also took to Twitter to criticize the president.

"We will not let a temper tantrum push us in the direction of doing something even our Republican colleagues know is wrong," he wrote, in part.

But Stephen Miller, who has been credited with devising much of the Trump administration's immigration platform, pushed back against Schumer's assertions, saying: "We're going to do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of illegal immigration. Including a shutdown? "If it comes to it, absolutely."

The president has long pledged to shut down the government if it doesn't receive the funds he needs for the border wall, though he has offered conflicting messages on how the wall would be funded.

During the presidential campaign, for example, then-candidate Trump insisted Mexico would pay for the wall.

After winning the election, the president changed his tune.

He later claimed that the U.S. budget would pay for the wall...

...before shifting the burden back to Mexico.

Soon, he claimed that Congress should pay for the wall.

Mere days later, he claimed that Congress had agreed to fund the wall.

This obviously isn't true, and the president made no mention of this year's spending bill, which allocates $38 million for "border barrier planning and design" but doesn't fund the wall itself.