US government shutdown hurt Republicans' image: Poll

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The recent shutdown of the US government has taken a stinging toll on the image of the Republican Party, according to a poll published on Tuesday.

The Washington Post-ABC News survey showed the public's opinion of the party has sunk to an all-time low, with nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) saying they held an unfavorable view, compared to 32 per cent who view it favorably.

The government shutdown was sparked after Republicans driven by the ultra-conservative Tea Party faction tried to make a bill to keep funding the government contingent on gutting President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

The messy 16-day shutdown ended only when Congress was staring at an imminent deadline to raise the government's borrowing authority - or face the prospect of a debt default - and ultimately passed a bill to fund the government and raise that debt limit, albeit in both cases just for a few more months.

According to the poll, only one quarter of the American public hold a positive view of the Tea Party faction in the wake of the shutdown.

However, Mr Obama's Democrats did not emerge unscathed from the Washington gridlock.

More than six in 10 people polled disapproved of how the party handled budget negotiations.

Unfavorable ratings of the party rose to a record high of 49 per cent, although Obama's overall ratings held steady.

More than half of the people polled (53 per cent) blamed Republicans for the deadlock, 29 per cent blamed Obama and 15 per cent said both sides were equally to blame.

The survey was conducted between October 17 and 20 with 1,002 representative voters polled.

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