At least 46 percent of the American voters welcome a government shutdown due to disagreement in Washington over federal spending, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Meanwhile, 44 percent say it would be a bad thing if the U.S. government shuts down.

On the debate over pay for government workers, 35 percent say the pay is about right, while 15 percent say it is too little and 42 percent say it is too much.

Democrats split 47 - 45 percent on whether public employees should pay more for their retirement and health benefits, but the call for higher contributions is 72 - 22 percent among Republicans and 70 - 26 percent among independent voters.

In addition, 45 percent of American voters opined that bargaining for public employees should be limited to reduce state budget deficits, while 42 percent oppose limits on collective bargaining.

Democrats say 2-1 that government workers are paid about right or too little, rather than too much and split over whether they should pay more for benefits, but they solidly defend collective bargaining. Independent voters, as usual, are in the middle, Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement.

The support for limiting collecting bargaining to reduce state deficits is 59 - 25 percent among Republicans, while independent voters split 45 - 43 percent. Defending collective bargaining are Democrats 56 - 33 percent and voters in union households 62 - 29 percent.

If the federal government is forced to shut down because of the impasse over spending, voters say by an overwhelming 78 - 18 percent neither President Barack Obama nor members of Congress should be paid for that period. Voters would blame Republicans more than President Obama 47 - 38 percent if the government shuts down.

There is a partisan tinge to American voter attitudes toward government workers: By wide margins, Republicans say these workers are overpaid; want them to pay more for their benefits and want to limit collective bargaining, Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,887 registered voters from Feb. 21 - 28 with a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points.