Sep 22, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Poll: Most Americans say a shutdown would affect them

 A "danger" sign is posted at a work site on the East Plaza of the U.S. Capitol

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

More than half of American adults say a shutdown of the federal government would affect them personally — and 68% say the threat of one decreases their trust in the government, a new survey says.

Why it matters: The survey points to the disarray that would ripple through the nation if House Republicans can't settle on a deal to fund the government by the Sept. 30 deadline.

  • Democrats (65%) were more likely than Republicans (46%) to say they'd personally be affected by a shutdown, according to the survey by the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service.

Zoom in: The survey lands as congressional offices have begun preparing for a shutdown, the White House is warning about the impact on the economy and national security — and trust in the government already is near record low levels.

  • A shutdown would risk depleting the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) disaster relief fund, halt scientific research and delay food inspections by the FDA, the Biden administration warned.
  • Hundreds of thousands of federal workers would see paychecks interrupted, and a range of health programs could be affected.
  • Air travel could become a bigger headache: During the 2018-2019 government shutdown, thousands of TSA agents declined to show up for work, delaying travelers nationwide.
  • A shutdown would freeze the FAA's training of more than 2,600 new air traffic controllers who are being brought on to address controller shortages across the country, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told Congress on Wednesday.

The new survey also reflects Americans' frustrations with lawmakers who block military and government appointments.

  • 64% of those polled said they do not think U.S. senators should block nominations of top officials to make a political statement.
  • Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) has waged a months-long blockade against hundreds of nominations for top military positions to protest a Pentagon policy that reimburses service members' abortion-related expenses.

The survey results come from an online survey conducted by the Partnership of Public Service of 1,000 U.S. adults from Sept. 6-12, 2023.

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