By Jason Lange
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – While the U.S. government narrowly dodged a partial shutdown and the House of Representatives ousted its speaker for the first time in history, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that two-thirds of Americans believe Washington politicians cannot put aside their partisan differences to do their jobs.
Some 64% of the respondents in the two-day poll completed on Wednesday – including 61% of Democrats and 66% of Republicans – disagreed with a statement that politicians in the capital can “put partisan differences aside for the good of the nation.”
Some 27% percent of all respondents to the online poll agreed with the statement and 9% said they did not know.
Disputes between Republicans and Democrats have triggered three partial government shutdowns in Washington in the past decade and earlier this year brought the federal government within days of defaulting on $31.4 trillion in debt.
This week Republican infighting led the House of Representatives to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy after he relied on Democratic votes to pass a bill averting a weekend government shutdown.
The vast majority of poll respondents had heard about the near shutdown, with only 13% saying they had not.
Only 43% of respondents said they agreed that Congress was able to carry out its basic function of passing laws so the government can function, compared to 47% who disagreed.
To be sure, the federal government has been able to function even as bipartisan cooperation in Congress has withered in recent decades, and so far government shutdowns have been limited in scope.
Americans have long held a dim view of Congress, and the poll showed about 35% of respondents viewed the House of Representatives unfavorably while 39% viewed the Senate that way.
The polling began on Tuesday before the vote ousting McCarthy from his post, leaving the chamber leaderless.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online and nationwide, surveying 1,005 U.S. adults. It had a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 4 percentage points in either direction.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)