President Obama yesterday criticized congressional Republicans for insisting on spending cuts in any budget deal that continues government operations past October 1, saying they risk “economic chaos.” Most voters agree a federal government shutdown would be bad for the economy, but they’re willing to risk one until Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree on ways to cut the budget, including cuts in funding for the new national health care law.

Just 20% of Likely U.S. Voters believe a partial shutdown of the federal government would be good for economy, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifty-six percent (56%) say such a shutdown would be bad for the economy, even though payments for things like Social Security, Medicare and unemployment would continue. Sixteen percent (16%) think it would have no impact. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

But 58% favor a federal budget that cuts spending, while only 16% prefer one that increases spending. Twenty-one percent (21%) support a budget that keeps spending levels about the same.

This helps explain why 53% would rather have a partial government shutdown until Democrats and Republicans can agree on what spending to cut. Thirty-seven percent (37%) would prefer instead that Congress avoid a shutdown by authorizing spending at existing levels as the president has proposed.

Some conservative Republicans in both the House and Senate are refusing to approve a budget unless it slows or stops funding for the health care law, but the president and most congressional Democrats are adamantly opposed to any such cuts. However, 51% of voters favor having a partial government shutdown until Democrats and Republicans agree on what spending for the health care law to cut. Forty percent (40%) would rather avoid a government shutdown by authorizing spending for the health care law at existing levels.

51% Favor Government Shutdown Until Congress Cuts Health Care Funding – Rasmussen Reports™.