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GOP Poll Finds Massive Opposition To Government Shutdown Plan

Byron York passes on news of a new poll that seems to throw massive amounts of cold water on efforts by Senator Ted Cruz and other Republicans to force a government shutdown unless the President and Democrats in the Senate agree to defund Obamacare:

A new poll done for Republican members of Congress has found huge public opposition, and solid opposition among Republicans, to the idea of shutting down the government over the issue of funding Obamacare.

In a national survey of 1,000 registered voters done July 31 and August 1, the question, from pollster David Winston, said, “Some members of Congress have proposed shutting down the government as a way to defund the president’s health care law” and asked respondents whether they favored or opposed that plan.

Overall, 71 percent of those surveyed opposed a shutdown, while 23 percent favored a shutdown. Among Republicans, 53 percent opposed, versus 37 percent who favored.

Winston found a huge gender gap among Republicans. Republican men favored a shutdown by a narrow 48 percent to 44 percent margin. But Republican women opposed it by an enormous 61 percent to 29 percent margin.

There is one segment of the GOP that supports the plan, but its a very small segment of the electorate:

Among Republicans who called themselves conservative, those who said they are very conservative favored shutdown by 63 percent to 27 percent, while those who said they are somewhat conservative opposed shutdown by 62 percent to 31 percent. Overall, Republicans who call themselves conservative were evenly split on the issue, 46 percent to 46 percent.

Conservative Republicans make up about 19 percent of the entire electorate. Of that number about nine percent call themselves very conservative, while ten percent say they are somewhat conservative. What the poll suggests is that even that conservative cohort is deeply split on the defunding initiative.

While conservative Tea Party activists will likely continue to stick their heads in the sand over this issue, these polls numbers are likely to provide additional ammunition to those Republicans who have been the most vocal in speaking out against the shutdown plan, as well as provide ammunition to Republican leadership in both Houses of Congress to resist the efforts of the Tea Party crowd to force a fight on this issue.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. legion says:

    This is truly a beast of the GOP’s own creation… they’ve successfully whipped up the most gullible, most insular, and stupidest part of their base to believe that the ACA is the coming of the Communist Antichrist that will destroy Amurrika, and it must be stopped at _any_ cost. But a large chunk of their actual voters are a) seeing genuine benefits from ACA and/or b) not stupid enough to believe shutting down the government won’t be worse that letting the ACA come into effect.

    Now, while they’re back in their home districts during vacation, they have to explain out of both sides of their mouths to each group of constituents, while getting slammed by the other. My sympathies are not in use at this time.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 0

  2. gVOR08 says:

    So Rafael Edward Cruz, eh, is nuts? In other news, rain is wet.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  3. anjin-san says:

    If the government is shut down, it will be kind of fun to watch the most strident conservatives go berserk when their benefits and services are affected…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  4. JWH says:

    On Slate recently, Matthew Yglesias observed that while turning the debt ceiling into a showdown would be catastrophic, shutting down government for a few days over the Obamacare issue would likely not hurt the economy in the long run.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Winston found a huge gender gap among Republicans. Republican men favored a shutdown by a narrow 48 percent to 44 percent margin. But Republican women opposed it by an enormous 61 percent to 29 percent margin.

    So, basically, white guys are the source of our political dysfunction.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 2

  6. Pinky says:

    Some surveys explain a political issue in detail. I wonder what the results would be to this question: “Some members of Congress have proposed passing a budget to fund all government functions but the president’s health care law….” Or, “Some members of Congress have proposed shutting down all non-essential government services as a way to defund the president’s health care law….”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 29

  7. MikeSJ says:

    Does anyone know what a government shut-down actually entails? I have yet to see one explanation of what is actually going to happen and what impact the public would experience.

    Air Traffic Control stopped? Food Inspections ended? Cats & Dogs living together?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  8. C. Clavin says:

    Tea Baggers don’t need no surveys….
    http://media.redding.com/media/img/photos/2013/01/19/122420_t607.JPG

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Pinky says:

    @MikeSJ: Pardon the long cut-and-paste. The following is a list of the government functions which were maintained during the 1995-1996 shutdown (list taken from the 1981 memo which was in effect at the time):

    1. Provide for the national security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security or the safety of life and property.
    2. Provide for benefit payments and the performance of contract obligations under no-year or multi-year or other funds remaining available for those purposes.
    3. Conduct essential activities to the extent that they protect life and property, including:
    a. Medical care of inpatients and emergency outpatient care;
    b. Activities essential to ensure continued public health and safety, including safe use of food and drugs and safe use of hazardous materials;
    c. The continuance of air traffic control and other transportation safety functions and the protection of transport property;
    d. Border and coastal protection and surveillance;
    e. Protection of Federal lands, buildings, waterways, equipment and other property owned by the United States;
    f. Care of prisoners and other persons in the custody of the United States;
    g. Law enforcement and criminal investigations;
    h. Emergency and disaster assistance;
    i. Activities essential to the preservation of the essential elements of the money and banking system of the United States, including borrowing and tax collection activities of the Treasury;
    j. Activities that ensure production of power and maintenance of the power distribution system; and
    k. Activities necessary to maintain protection of research property.

    The executive branch has considerable discretion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: How dare you be so disrespectful as to call them Tea Baggers? Oh…that’s why.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  11. Caj says:

    Who really needs shutting down is that stupid Ted Cruz! Yet he’ll carry on with the nonsense because the tea party folks just love to hear him talk crap!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  12. C. Clavin says:

    Tea baggers and Pinky (like Pinky?) are arguing that we should shut down the Government…because they want people with pre-existing conditions to be forced off their insurance, they want millions of people to be unable to purchase insurance, they want kids to be tossed off their parents insurance at a much younger age, and they want freeloaders to increase the cost of healthcare for responsible citizens.
    And…they want insurance premiums to begin skyrocketing again.
    The Kaiser Foundation is out with an industry survey that shows employer sponsored premiums grew at 4% last year. Now…sure enough…that is an increase. But it is a significant reduction of the increases in previous years…increases of 28% for instance. That has always been the goal of Obamacare…to bend the curve of rate increases down.
    Be perfectly clear…Pinky and the baggers want all of these things to happen. And they are willing to fvck up the economy to make them happen.
    http://kff.org/private-insurance/press-release/employer-sponsored-family-health-premiums-rise-a-modest-4-percent-in-2013-national-benchmark-employer-survey-finds/
    http://media.redding.com/media/img/photos/2013/01/19/122420_t607.JPG

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  13. James Pearce says:

    @MikeSJ:

    Does anyone know what a government shut-down actually entails?

    Yes. One occurred in 1995.

    From Wikipedia:

    A 2010 Congressional Research Service report summarized other details of the 1995-1996 government shutdowns, indicating the shutdown impacted all sectors of the economy. Health and welfare services for military veterans were curtailed; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped disease surveillance; new clinical research patients were not accepted at the National Institutes of Health; and toxic waste clean-up work at 609 sites was halted. Other impacts included: the closure of 368 National Park sites resulted in the loss of some seven million visitors; 200,000 applications for passports and 20,000 to 30,000 applications for visas by foreigners went unprocessed each day; U.S. tourism and airline industries incurred millions of dollars in losses; more than 20% of federal contracts, representing $3.7 billion in spending, were affected adversely.

    Sad thing is that the shutdown in 1995 was an actual budget fight, whereas this Obamacare fight is really just a bunch of sore losers trying to subvert the democratic process.

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  14. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin: Where did I argue for a government shutdown?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  15. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    Some surveys explain a political issue in detail. I wonder what the results would be to this question: “Some members of Congress have proposed passing a budget to fund all government functions but the president’s health care law….” Or, “Some members of Congress have proposed shutting down all non-essential government services as a way to defund the president’s health care law….”

    Seems me a GOP friendly push poll wouldn’t really be useful in this situation.

    Unless you meant this:

    “Do you support the Republican plan to shut down the government in their efforts to take away health care benefits from over 50 million Americans?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  16. C. Clavin says:
  17. Mikey says:

    While conservative Tea Party activists will likely continue to stick their heads in the sand

    Their heads are stuck somewhere, but it isn’t in sand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. Todd says:

    A relatively tiny segment of the electorate.

    But you’ll never convince them of that. “Most people” they know think just like they do. The rest of us are simply being misinformed by the liberally biased media. (man those guys are some incredibly effecitve manipulators of public opinion)

    It’s hardly a surprise that they hold such outsized sway in our political discourse though. Any parent of young kids will tell you that no matter how hard you try not to, *most* of us eventually end up trying to appease an unreasonable child when they’re throwing a tantrum. (which usually simply results in more intense and frequent future tantrums).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  19. Facebones says:

    The problem is, that “relatively tiny segment of the electorate” (aka hard right Tea Partiers) is enough to tip a Republican primary. Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell are pissing themselves over a shutdown. If they support a shutdown, the country suffers and they may well lose the midterm elections. If they oppose a shutdown, the teabaggers will primary them as being RINOs who wouldn’t stop the Kenyan Usurper’s Death Panel Jamboree.

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch. It’s just a shame that the rest of the country has to be in the crossfire.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  20. michael reynolds says:

    I don’t like this idea of Republicans trying to get actual data. This could lead to them polling on the likelihood of a “True Conservative” winning the White House, and that could ruin all our fun.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  21. sam says:

    “While conservative Tea Party activists will likely continue to stick their heads in the sand over this issue”

    Think farther north.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  22. David M says:

    It’s been happening for a while now, but the GOP has completely lost touch with reality. Nothing about their opposition to Obamacare or their plans to shut down the government makes the slightest bit of sense anymore. Defaulting on the national debt is arguably more insane that their other ideas.

    They’ve gone past suggesting tire irons and anthrax for dinner, and no longer understand the concept of food or meals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  23. Liberal capitalist says:

    @sam:

    “While conservative Tea Party activists will likely continue to stick their heads in the sand over this issue”

    Think farther north.

    Snow?

    (… We can see Russia from Alaska! )

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. Buffalo Rude says:

    Meh. Since when (in the last 30 or so years) has objective reality gotten in the way of right wing ideology…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  25. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    Where did I argue for a government shutdown?

    Maybe it’s just me but, your comment ….

    Some surveys explain a political issue in detail. I wonder what the results would be to this question: “Some members of Congress have proposed passing a budget to fund all government functions but the president’s health care law….” Or, “Some members of Congress have proposed shutting down all non-essential government services as a way to defund the president’s health care law….”

    seems to suggest …
    that there might be more support for a shutdown, if only they’d ask the question in ways that you suggest. So, are you saying that you DON’T support a shutdown, or do you in fact AGREE with the Cuban-American-Canadian Senator from Calgary?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  26. anjin-san says:

    As usual, a conservative has to be personally affected by something to gain a little humanity:

    A former Republican operative in Georgia who was diagnosed with cancer revealed last week that his medical struggles have made him a supporter of the new federal health care law known as “Obamacare.”

    Clint Murphy, who worked on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and Karen Handel’s 2010 Georgia gubernatorial bid, wrote on his Facebook page that opponents to Obamacare are taking a position that’s at odds with his best interest.

    “When you say you’re against it, you’re saying that you don’t want people like me to have health insurance,” he wrote, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    Murphy was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000 but, after four rounds of chemotherapy (covered by his insurance), it had gone into remission by 2004. He wasn’t in the clear quite though. Because his sleep apnea qualifies as a “pre-existing condition,” Murphy explained to the Journal-Constitution, he currently has no insurance.

    The 38-year-old Murphy now works in real estate and said he will enter Georgia’s health insurance exchange when it opens in 2014. He doesn’t think Obamacare is perfect, but said that Republicans “are not even participating in the process” to suggest improvements.

    “We have people treating government like a Broadway play, like it’s some sort of entertainment,” he told the Journal-Constitution.

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/ex-gop-operatives-cancer-struggles-make-him-obamacare

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  27. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san:

    The 38-year-old Murphy now works in real estate and said he will enter Georgia’s health insurance exchange when it opens in 2014. He doesn’t think Obamacare is perfect, but said that Republicans “are not even participating in the process” to suggest improvements.

    Yes, a come to Jesus moment for Murphy. Every Republican should read his story.

    I wish him well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  28. PJ says:

    Republicans in Congress don’t care about polls.
    What they all care about are primary challenges.
    This poll will change nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  29. William Wilgus says:

    @C. Clavin: Wow, man! Carryin’ your stash out in the open like that . . . Shoulda hid it cause him wearin’ sunglasses is a dead giveaway that he’ usin’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Pinky says:

    @al-Ameda: As I understand it, Cruz doesn’t support a shutdown. He supports offering up a budget that includes everything but “Obamacare”. If the Presdient wants to veto it, then he’s the one causing a shutdown. Cruz has been more vocal in his brinkmanship, but Mike Lee has said, “we all know that the government is going to get funded. The only question is whether the government gets funded with Obamacare or without it?” Generally, if you’ve got one bargaining chip, and you tell your opposition in advance that you’re never going to use it, you’ve put yourself in a bad negotiating position.

    I’m not sure what I support. But I can understand the group in the Senate playing their hand the way they are. I don’t understand the Manichaean reponse to it. And I really don’t understand the emerging Ted Cruz fixation.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 18

  31. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    That bill will not be passed, there’s no veto to discuss. So the Tea Party morons (TM GOP) are pushing a shut down and lying about it with their “fund everything but Obamacare” idiocy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  32. al-Ameda says:

    @Pinky:

    As I understand it, Cruz doesn’t support a shutdown. He supports offering up a budget that includes everything but “Obamacare”.

    but Mike Lee has said, “we all know that the government is going to get funded. The only question is whether the government gets funded with Obamacare or without it?”

    ergo … Ted Cruz supports a shutdown, as does fellow obstructionist and avatar of dysfunction, Mike Lee. Thanks for proving my point.

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  33. Travis Mason-Bushman says:

    @Pinky: In which alternate universe does the Senate pass a bill which defunds Obamacare? We aren’t on Earth-Prime, and the Constitution requires that a bill be approved by both houses of Congress before being sent to the president for signature or veto.

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  34. James Pearce says:

    @Pinky:

    If the Presdient wants to veto it, then he’s the one causing a shutdown.

    The only problem here is that in this scenario, Congress would be intentionally inviting a veto….then conveniently shirking the blame.

    Parents of small children are familiar with this tactic.

    David M is right: A budget without Obamacare won’t make it out of Congress. Obama won two elections. The ACA passed Congress and the president signed it into law. It was challenged in court and the Supreme Court found it constitutional.

    The war is over. John Frum will not be dropping any more cargo. The cult can disperse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  35. Blue Galangal says:

    @James Pearce:

    The war is over. John Frum will not be dropping any more cargo. The cult can disperse.

    Sadly, that’s what we thought in 1973 with Roe v. Wade and look where that’s gotten us. You can’t trust them an inch and you can’t rest for a minute. It’s very discouraging. Law means nothing to them; all they see is what they “want.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  36. Kari Q says:

    @anjin-san:

    It’s amazing how often Republicans change their tune when faced with hard, cold reality. Now, if only we could figure out a way to get more Republicans to face reality – perhaps trying to survive on minimum wage, while raising a child as a single parent, and having no medical leave would open the eyes of a few of them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  37. Latino_in_Boston says:

    Someone else suggested it at some point that Lee, Cruz and the rest might as well ask Obama to cut his arm off. And as I said before, it really is a good way of thinking about it:

    “The matter is a simple one, ladies and gentlemen, we all know the government is going to get funded. The question is whether it will be with Obama having his arms intact, or with him cutting his arm for the greater good. If he does not, then only he can be blamed for any problems that arise. And I say to you Mr. President, do you really love your arm that much that you would not sacrifice it for America. If so, perhaps you should not call yourself President.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  38. C. Clavin says:

    Kari Q is correct…Republicans have become a party of rigid ideology…and it’s an ideology that rarely survives exposure to the real world.
    Witness Republican Goddess Ayn Rand and her embrace of Medicare the same instant she became ill.
    Witness Portman and his embrace of Same-Sex Marriage the second his son came out.
    Witness Clint Murphy…
    http://www.ajc.com/weblogs/political-insider/2013/aug/17/two-changing-views-top-and-bottom-gop-health-care-/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  39. David M says:

    It is worth noting that if they thought their plan was a winner, they wouldn’t come up with such nonsense language to describe it. (Obama is making us shut down the government)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  40. @Pinky:

    Those activities were continued only because the government took extraordinary borrowing measures (e.g., accessed the pension funds of federal employees) and because the shut down did not last very long. Had it extended even another week, your list would have shrunk. Had it gone on two weeks, virtually everything on your list would have been stopped cold.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0