So who's got the upper hand in the epic budget battle underway in Congress? Neither side has much of an edge, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll. In the survey, conducted this week, 42 percent of respondents said Republicans in Congress were doing a better job on efforts to agree on a new federal budget, while 39 percent said Democrats and President Obama were doing better. Three percent said both sides deserved equal credit (or blame, I suppose) and 16 percent didn't have an opinion.
What's the solution to the stalemate? Well, 60 percent of respondents said both sides should compromise, while only 32 percent said their side should hold out for the plan it wants.
Democrats could interpret the endorsement of compromise as backing for something less than the cuts House Republicans have proposed, but they should be careful: 48 percent of those polled say the Democrats' plans don't go far enough in cutting federal spending, while only 29 percent say they're about right.
(Hat tip: National Journal)
Update, 4:39 p.m.: Here's some interesting new data: a National Journal poll of about 200 Democratic and Republican party officials, consultants, startegists and lobbyists finds that 65 percent of GOP insiders think it would not be in their party's interest to shut down government. Only 29 percent of Democrats say the same about their party. And 56 percent of Dems think it would be in their interest to see a shutdown.
"The Republicans look awful if there's a government shutdown and they are seen to have caused it," said one GOP insider. "I remember how the last shutdown went and find it impossible to believe this one could go any better," said another.