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POLL: Republicans will get more blame for government shutdown

U.S. Senator Cruz departs in an elevator after speaking to reporters about his opposition after the Senate passed a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown at the U.S. Capitol in Washington
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz departs in an elevator after speaking to reporters about his opposition after the Senate passed a spending bill to avoid a government...

With just hours to go until a possible government shutdown, the latest polling reveals only one in three Americans support delaying, defunding, or repealing the Affordable Care Act.

And if the government does indeed get shut down, a majority say Republicans will deserve most of the blame.

The tracking poll from the Morning Consult finds that 51% of registered voters think Republicans will deserve "a lot" of the blame for a shutdown, compared to 41% for Obama and 36% for Democrats. If you ask independents only, 55% say Republicans deserve "a lot" of the blame, compared to 47% saying Obama deserves a lot of the blame and 44% saying Democrats do. Those numbers are similar to a CNN poll released Monday as well, which found 46% of respondents ready to blame congressional Republicans for a shutdown, with 36% saying the president deserves the blame.

The polling finds that a plurality of Americans (42%) would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported defunding the law. That number drops to only 16% when you ask Republicans, 52% of whom say a vote to defund the law actually increases the likelihood they will support that candidate.

The poll also finds that support for repealing the Affordable care Act has dropped over the last couple months. Today, 26% say the law should be repealed, down from 30% in July. The conservative campaign to see the law delayed or defunded has grown slightly in support, but is still relatively unpopular. Only 7% say the law should be defunded or delayed, up from 4% over the last two months. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Americans say the law should either be improved or expanded by Congress, or allowed to take effect as is.

White House Spokesman Jay Carney indicated during a press conference Monday that the president is willing to work with Congress to find ways to improve the law.

"I'm not going to get into specific things that -- but he is certainly willing to negotiate with and discuss with Congress, not under the threat of shutdown or default, ways to improve the Affordable Care Act," Carney said. "And that has been the case and will be the case moving forward.”

The polling also reveals that by a 2-to-1 margin, voters say the results from the 2012 presidential election represented a referendum on the Affordable Care Act. That's a point both Democrats and even a handful of Republicans have made, including Sen. John McCain, who criticized Sen. Ted Cruz's 21-hour pseudo-filibuster, and said that his colleagues should respect that the president was re-elected while campaigning for the health reform law.

"I campaigned all over America for two months everywhere I could, and in every single campaign rally I said, 'And we have to repeal and replace Obamacare,'" he said on the Senate Floor. "Well, the people spoke. They spoke, much to my dismay, but they spoke, and they re-elected the president of the United States."

"It's not something that I wanted the outcome to be, but I think all of us should respect the outcome of elections which reflects the will of the people," he added later.

The survey also reveals some good news for the Obama administration, which has begun a campaign to encourage uninsured Americans to enroll for health coverage under the exchanges.

About four in 10 adults under 30 say they are "very likely" or "certain" to sign up for medical coverage through the exchanges after they open on Tuesday. And if the survey is any indication, the White House will have a pretty good sense of how successful their campaign advocating enrollment has been by November. About half of all those who plan to enroll plan to do so during the month of October.

Overall, only 4% of adults say they plan to pay the penalty rather than get coverage as is required by April of next year.