Majority Blames Trump For Shutdown, Multiple Polls Find

As the shutdown goes on, the polls are getting worse for the President.

As the Federal Government shutdown enters its twenty-fourth day, new polling is showing that the President and his political party are most decidedly on the losing end of the political battle, and it only seems likely to get worse for them as time goes on. This is most clearly indicated in a series of new polls that show the American public blames the President and to some extent Congressional Republicans, for the shutdown itself and that they do not support the President’s border wall.

First up, there’s a new poll from ABC News and The Washington Post:

By a wide margin, more Americans blame President Trump and Republicans in Congress than congressional Democrats for the now record-breaking government shutdown, and most reject the president’s assertion that there is an illegal-immigration crisis on the southern border, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Support for building a wall on the border, which is the principal sticking point in the stalemate between the president and Democrats, has increased over the past year. Today, 42 percent say they support a wall, up from 34 percent last January. A slight majority of Americans (54 percent) oppose the idea, down from 63 percent a year ago.

The increase in support is sharpest among Republicans, whose backing for Trump’s long-standing campaign promise jumped 16 points in the past year, from 71 percent to 87 percent. Not only has GOP support increased, it has also hardened. Today, 70 percent of Republicans say they strongly support the wall, an increase of 12 points since January 2018,

Concerning the allocation of blame, 53 percent say Trump and the Republicans are mainly at fault, and 29 percent blame the Democrats in Congress. Thirteen percent say both sides bear equal responsibility for the shutdown. That is identical to the end of the 16-day shutdown in 2013, when 29 percent blamed then-President Barack Obama and 53 percent put the responsibility on congressional Republicans.

A predictable partisan divide shapes the blame game, with 85 percent of Democrats citing Trump and Republicans as the cause and 68 percent of Republicans pointing the finger at congressional Democrats. Independents fix the blame squarely on the president and his party rather than on the Democrats, by 53 percent to 23 percent. Women blame Trump and Republicans by a margin of 35 points, and men blame the president and the GOP by 13 points.

The deep partisan divide over who bears responsibility for the partial shutdown and over the wall itself is likely to have contributed to the length of the standoff. Neither the president nor Democratic congressional leaders have shown any willingness to compromise. Republicans in Congress continue to show support for Trump’s positions.

Last week, the talks broke down during a contentious meeting at the White House at which Trump walked out when told by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that she would continue to oppose the wall in border security negotiations, even if the government was reopened. As of this weekend, there is still no clear path ahead to end the shutdown.

At this point, most Americans say they are not feeling the effects of the shutdown. Eighteen percent say they have been inconvenienced, including 7 percent who say it has been a major problem.

If the shutdown continues for several months, as the president has threatened, 38 percent of Americans say they would consider that a crisis, 41 percent say it would be a serious problem but not a crisis, and 18 percent say it would not be a serious problem.

Partisan differences also shape the choices ahead. Of the 54 percent of Americans who oppose the wall, 27 percent say Democrats should continue to resist Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion for a barrier, and 23 percent say Democrats should compromise with the president.

Of those 42 percent who support the wall, 24 percent say Trump should continue to demand the level of funding he has asked for, and 16 percent say he should strike a deal with the Democrats.

Overall, Democrats appear somewhat more conciliatory than Republicans. The poll finds that 42 percent of Democrats who oppose the wall say congressional Democrats should refuse to budge even if it extends the shutdown; 37 percent say they should compromise with Trump. Among Republicans, 58 percent both support the wall and say Trump should continue to demand funding, compared with 22 percent who say he should compromise to end the shutdown.

On related issues, the poll finds more bad news for the President and his fellow Republicans. As I’ve noted before, the President has threatened to declare a “national emergency” to get his wall built as part of a strategy to begin construction on his border wall, although he has seemingly walked that threat back to some extent. If he does go through with that threat, though, the poll finds that the public would be opposed to the move. Precisely, 66% of Americans said they would oppose declaring a state of emergency while just 31 percent would support it, a number that is largely consistent with the party that most Americans blame for the current state of affairs. Not surprisingly, of course, the same poll finds that roughly 66% of Republicans say that they would support the President using emergency powers to get the wall built. Additionally, the poll finds that 47% of Americans say there is a “serious problem” at the border but would not call it a crisis while only 24% would call it a crisis. Among Republicans, 49% say the situation at the border is a crisis, while 43% say it is serious but not a crisis. Among Democrats, only 7% say that there is a “crisis” at the border while 52% call the situation “serious.” Finally, among independents, roughly 20% say the situation at the border is a crisis as the President has said, while roughly 50% say the situation is serious, but not a crisis.

The new CNN poll has similar numbers:

Amid the longest government shutdown in US history, a majority say Donald Trump bears more responsibility for it than the Democrats in Congress, and the President’s disapproval rating has climbed five points since last month, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.

Negotiations between the President and congressional leaders have stalled as neither side seems willing to budge on funding for a wall along the border with Mexico. That proposal remains deeply unpopular with the public, according to the poll. Overall, 56% oppose a wall, 39% favor it. That’s almost exactly the same as in December. And less than half view the situation at the border as a crisis (45% say it’s a crisis, 52% that it is not).

Among those who do see the situation as a crisis, most feel that a border wall would help improve things. The subset who feels that way, however, amounts to only 31% of US adults.

All of these results are sharply divided along party lines. Nearly 9 in 10 Democrats oppose a wall along the border while 8 in 10 Republicans favor one. Seven in 10 Republicans say the situation at the border is a crisis and two-thirds believe a wall would fix it, while about three-quarters of Democrats say there is no crisis, and just 4% feel that there is one that a wall would help improve.

Overall, the President’s approval rating in the poll stands at 37% approve to 57% disapprove. Disapproval has risen five points since December, while his approval number has held roughly the same. Trump’s current approval rating matches Ronald Reagan’s at this point in his presidency. January of 1983 was the only time during Reagan’s tenure when his approval rating fell below 40%, according to Gallup. Trump has hit a low point of 35% in CNN’s polling two times — in December 2017 and February 2018 — and has been at 40% or above just nine times out of the 20 CNN has polled on it.

The increase in disapproval for the President comes primarily among whites without college degrees, 45% of whom approve and 47% disapprove, marking the first time his approval rating with this group has been underwater in CNN polling since February 2018. In December, his approval rating with whites who have not received a four-year degree stood at 54%, with 39% disapproving. Among whites who do hold college degrees, Trump’s ratings are largely unchanged in the last month and remain sharply negative — 64% disapprove and 32% approve

Those whites who do not have college degrees remain in favor of a wall along the border with Mexico (51% favor it, 46% oppose it), but they tilt toward blaming the President for the government shutdown (45% say he is more responsible for it, 39% the Democrats in Congress).

The public generally is more apt to blame the President, with 55% saying he is more responsible for the shutdown than are Democrats in Congress, while 32% say the blame rests mostly with the Democrats. Another 9% say both are responsible. Democrats are more unified in their blame for the President (89% blame Trump) than are the Republican rank-and-file in blaming the Democrats (65% of Republicans blame the Democrats in Congress, 23% blame Trump). Independents are more apt to blame Trump (48% to 34%), and are most likely to say both sides are responsible (14%).

A new poll from Huffington Post and YouGov is consistent with these numbers:

Most Americans hold President Donald Trump responsible for the partial government shutdown, according to a slate of just-released surveys, including the fourth wave of HuffPost/YouGov’s shutdown tracking poll.

The share of Americans who regard the shutdown as “very serious” now stands at a new high of 50 percent, the HuffPost/YouGov survey finds, up from 29 percent in an initial survey taken just before Christmas.

Just under a quarter say that they have or they expect to be personally affected by the shutdown. Some hold only general or hazy concernsBut with thousands of workers now missing paychecks, others cite more concrete, imminent harms.

“[Our son] is an essential federal worker with a one year old and no way to buy diapers or baby food,” wrote one Arizona woman, who described her family as devastated by the impact. ”He has to work but is not being paid. I am helping him out but my funds are limited too. Also, my son in law is on unpaid leave but luckily my daughter is working full time. But she’s going on maternity leave in March so they won’t have any money, either.”

A Democrat, the woman gave low marks to President Trump and the Republicans for their actions, but said she believed her party was making a good-faith effort to end the standoff.

Views about who’s to blame for the shutdown remain sharply divided along partisan lines. Another woman surveyed also said her family members are going unpaid. She described herself as very concerned about the shutdown and held the president and both parties in Congress at least somewhat responsible. But as a Republican, she also backed Trump’s desire to hold out for a border wall and believed that he and his congressional allies were working to bring the shutdown to an end.

Overall, as in previous HuffPost/YouGov surveys, Americans give everyone in Washington low marks for their handling of the shutdown ― but the GOP is faring especially badly. Americans are 45 percentage points likelier to disapprove than to approve of the performance by Congress as a whole. They disapprove of congressional Republicans by a 29-point margin, of Trump by a 17-point margin and of congressional Democrats by a 13-point margin. Members of the public are close to evenly split on how they feel about the performance of their own representatives.

In the newest HuffPost/YouGov poll, 57 percent of Americans say they hold Trump at least partially responsible for the shutdown, an uptick from the 49 to 51 percent who have said the same in previous weeks. The 44 percent of the public who assign some responsibility to the Democrats and the 39 percent who point to the Republicans are less changed from previous surveys, although the GOP number is slightly increased.

Americans say by a 23-point margin that Republicans are playing politics rather than working in good faith to end the shutdown. They say the same of Trump by a 19-point margin and of Democrats by a 14-point margin

As is a new Quinnipiac poll:

American voters support 63 – 30 percent a Democratic proposal to reopen parts of the government that do not involve border security while negotiating funding for the Wall, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. Every party, gender, education, age and racial group supports this idea except Republicans, who are opposed 52 – 39 percent.

Voters oppose 63 – 32 percent shutting down the government to force funding for the Wall, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University National Poll finds. Again, Republicans are the only listed group supporting the shutdown, 67 – 24 percent.

The GOP is losing the battle as 56 percent of American voters say President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are responsible for the shutdown, while 36 percent say Democrats are responsible. 

Voters remain solidly opposed to a wall on the Mexican border, 55 – 43 percent, and reject every argument for the Wall. The 55 – 43 percent opposition compares to 54 – 43 percent opposition in a December 18 survey, just before the partial government shutdown.

American voters are negative in every question about the wall, saying:

  • 59 – 40 percent that it is not a good use of taxpayer dollars;
  • 55 – 43 percent that the wall would not make the U.S. safer;
  • 59 – 40 percent that the wall is not necessary to protect the border;
  • 52 percent say the wall is against American values as 41 percent say the wall is consistent with American values.

There is a security crisis along the Mexican border, American voters say 54 – 43 percent, and voters say 68 – 26 percent there is a humanitarian crisis.

“‘Mr. President, it’s on you,’ voters say about the government shutdown, blaming President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans more than Democrats,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

“And while they believe there is both a humanitarian and a security crisis along the southern border, they absolutely don’t think a wall will solve the problem,” Malloy added.

American voters support 61 – 32 percent a bill to fund new border security measures without funding the Wall. Republicans are the only listed group opposed to this idea, 57 – 36 percent.

Several other recent polls find similar results:

  • According to a CBS/YouGov survey that was released Friday, 47% of respondents blame Trump for the shutdown, while 30% blame Congressional Democrats, 3% blame Congressional Republicans, and 20% would spread the blame equally. Additionally, two-thirds of those surveyed would oppose the President declaring a national emergency to pay for his wall;
  • Another poll released on Friday from NPR/IPSOS finds that 75% of Americans, including most self-identified Republicans, believe the shut down is “embarrassing for the country. Additionally, roughly 70% believe that the shutdown will hurt the country and the economy, with a roughly similar number of respondents says that Congress should pass a bill reopening the government while the White House and Democrats debate the border wall issue. Just 31% of respondents think that the government should remain closed unless a border wall is funded; and,
  • Finally, the Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll finds that 51% of Americans blame the President for the shutdown, an increase from 46%, where it was at the start of the shutdown, while 32% blame Congressional Democrats, and 7% blame Congressional Republicans.

These numbers are consistent with both polling conducted before the shutdown began and polls taken in the immediate aftermath of the shutdown that showed most Americans blaming the President for the shutdown, and that is starting to impact public perception of Republicans as well. In addition to this, polling has clearly indicated that the American public is largely opposed to the Republican Party’s current orthodoxy on immigration. Polling released earlier this year showed similar disapproval for the border wall and the rest of the GOP’s immigration policy. Throw into that mix the significant public opposition to the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance and family separation policies, both of which continue to be a source of problems on the southern border, as well as other recent polling and it becomes clear that the President and the Republican Party are on the wrong side of this issue politically and that there really is no way that they can “win” this issue.

All of this comes at the same time that polling is also showing that the President’s job approval is also being negatively impacted by the ongoing shutdown. In the RealClearPolitics poll average, for example, the President’s average job approval stands at 41.4% while his disapproval stands at 55.0%, giving the President an -13.2 point gap in job approval. The Pollster average has not been updated since December when the President stood at 43.1% approval and 50.9% disapproval, for a gap of -7.8 points. Finally, in the FiveThirtyEight average, the President stands at 40.7% while his disapproval stands at 54.4%, for a gap of -13.7%. While these numbers are consistent with what we’ve seen throughout the Trump Presidency, they also tend to indicate that there is no indication at all that the President is “winning” this argument, something that can clearly be seen in the RealClearPolitics chart:


To put this in perspective, on December 18th, just prior to the shutdown, the Presidents average job approval stood at 42.6% and his disapproval stood at 51.9%, for a -9.3 point deficit. After just over three weeks, then, there has been a noticeable impact on the President’s job approval, and it’s only likely to get worse as time goes on.

Update: This post was updated to add information about the Quinnipiac poll, which was published shortly after the post went live.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Donald Trump, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.


  1. Teve says:

    I just saw wingnut poll on Facebook with over 26,000 votes:




    North Korea


    Lotta stupid people with shitty values in The Heartland™

    (ETA I saw this in an image, not a functioning poll, so there’s an outside chance it’s fake. But I doubt it.)

  2. Jon says:


    It has to be true if 101% of Americans responded.

  3. Kathy says:

    A big part of politics is not getting blamed for bad things that happen.

    One way to avoid blame is not to cause bad things to happen.

    But another, more important way to avoid blame, is not to say you will cause a bad thing and that you’ll assume responsibility for it, then go and do it and try to blame someone else.

  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    If not for the people not getting paid, this would be hilarious.
    The world’s greatest negotiator has painted himself into a corner, and left himself no out.
    His sole point of negotiation has been to call the wall something else. And to make it out of steel, not concrete.
    Wow…how could Dems not go for that?!?!?
    But as a distraction, the shutdown must be genius…because Individual-1 is pretty clearly a Russian Asset, and yet is still in office.

  5. Han says:

    @Jon: Our biggest threat is Americans aren’t giving 110% anymore. I blame participation trophies.

  6. Teve says:

    @Jon: that’s a common polling ‘error’ that happens because of rounding. Doesn’t really mean anything.

    49.5 and 50.5 add up to 100, but if you round them you can get 50 + 51 equals 101 or 49 + 50 equals 99. Depending on how sloppy your software is.

  7. Teve says:

    There’s actually an entire computer science standard called IEEE p 754 which is a whole semester long ordeal in learning how computers can fuck math up.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: I’m old enough to remember the first low cost four-function calculators (anyone remember the Bowmar Brain?) and definitely old enough to remember the first scientific calculators, which included a square root function. I remember clearly testing every such calculator in the early days with the square root of 4, to whether the answer was 2 or 1.999999

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: As a fellow engineer friend of mine likes to say, 2 + 2 = 5 for sufficiently large values of 2.

  10. Jon says:


    Wait a minute, now you’re telling me we can have part of a number? What fresh hell is this?

  11. CSK says:

    I’ve seen pics of Trumpkins wearing t-shirts bearing the legend I’D RATHER BE RUSSIAN THAN DEMOCRAT.

  12. Kathy says:


    That was a popular tagline in the old days of BBSes on FIDO, WWIV and SuperBBS.

    Hard to believe there was a time when a dial-up modem did not dial the internet.

  13. Kathy says:

    Remember that Dennison is concerned with his base almost exclusively, and with the Republican party a little bit (he may think they’re the same thing). So long as he gets approval from them, he’ll keep the government shut down.

    The problem with this mechanistic approach, is that a long shut down, even if only this partial one, would generate serious problems, but his base would still approve of El Cheeto’s negligence.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:


    I’ve seen pics of Trumpkins wearing t-shirts bearing the legend I’D RATHER BE RUSSIAN THAN DEMOCRAT.

    And most wish he were a Russian and that he’d go home.

  15. Teve says:

    Little while ago:

    Hillary Clinton


    Like I said: A puppet


  16. Matt says:

    @Kathy: Wildcat was popular for the local BBSes when was a kid. Fear the power of my 2400 baud modem hooked up to a 386sx 16mhz system!!

  17. EddieInCA says:

    If I was Tom Steyer, or any other progressive billionaire, I’d be running a very simple 15 second spot:

    (over photos and video of dirty National Parks, long lines at airports, signs of closed courthouses)
    Announcer: “The Federal Government is shut down.”
    Video of Trump during the meeting with Chuck and Nancy.
    Trump: “I will gladly shut the government down. I will take that. I will own it. And I won’t blame you.”
    Announcer (in official voice): This shutdown brought to you by President Trump, the GOP Senate, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Jared Kushner, and Mick Mulvaney.

    And I’d run it over and over and over and over and over again.

  18. dmhlt says:

    Looks like it’s a “poll” posted by Joe Biggs
    Joe Biggs is a former reporter for Alex Jones’ “InfoWars”.

    Not much credibility to my mind.

  19. Teve says:

    @dmhlt: thanks. I’m always a bit suspicious when it’s a photo of like a tweet, instead of a link to the tweet, for instance.

  20. Kathy says:

    Next up in the Trump Shut Down Follies: “Since the government worked perfectly well with 800,000 fewer people(*), we should get rid of all the dead weight. I bet there must be like 2 million Democrats we can fire.”

    (*) I know it doesn’t, but this is the same guy who believes the leaky vortex of chaos in his White House is a well-oiled machine.

  21. Teve says:

    @Kathy: Dinesh D’Stupid tweeted weeks ago that we should just get rid of non-essential employees in the first place.

  22. Mikey says:

    @Teve: “Non-essential” doesn’t mean not important.

    I mean, your heart is essential, but your limbs are still important. You can live without the latter, but you would be handicapped.

    Of course, scum like D’Souza want a handicapped government, but most Americans don’t, or would soon learn they don’t.

  23. Mikey says:

    @Kathy: Ask and ye shall receive.

    ‘Senior Trump Official’ On Shutdown: ‘We Do Not Want Most Employees To Return’

    An unnamed “senior official in the Trump administration” wrote in an anonymous Daily Caller op-ed Monday that the record-breaking 24-day partial government shutdown “is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.”

  24. Teve says:

    Trump Gives College Football Champs ‘Great American’ Fast Food

    AFP/Getty Images
    By Matt Shuham
    January 14, 2019 6:15 pm

    Because the partial government shutdown has left “much of the residence staff at the White House” furloughed during the Clemson football team’s White House visit on Monday, President Donald Trump brought fast food for the national champions, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday.

    “The President wanted to host a fun event to celebrate the College Football National Champion Clemson Tigers,” Sanders said in a statement that blamed Democrats for the shutdown. She added: “Much of the residence staff at the White House is furloughed – so the President is personally paying for the event to be catered with some of everyone’s favorite fast foods.”

    Yahoo News’ Hunter Walker noted in a pool report that “the pool was ushered into the dining room at about 5:50 p.m. where we saw President Trump standing behind a table piled high with burgers from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King.”

    “Trump explained that this was ‘great American food’ for the football players,” Walker added. “Your pooler asked him which restaurant is his favorite and he said he liked them all.”

    “If it’s American I like it. It’s all American Stuff,” Trump responded.

    @Mikey: I know that, and you know that, and Dinesh knows that the average Trump supporter who flunked out of the 8th grade in 1957 doesn’t know that and thinks it’s clever.

  25. Kathy says:


    As Larry Niven observed, predicting the past is easy.

    honestly I’d no idea. But I suppose it’s not fiscal conservatism unless the little guy gets it in the neck.

  26. Kathy says:


    As we say in Mexico, “No mames!”

    Sometimes we work late and order or get fast food for dinner (around 10-11 pm, we eat dinner later and lighter than in the US). Usually that means pizza, but sometimes it’s sandwiches, tacos, burgers, or even chicken.

    The pizzas remain in their boxes because they’re too big. The rest we serve on (plastic) serving plates, not in their wrappers or boxes. We do eat off paper plates, because the cleaning staff arrives until next morning, and it’s rude to leave them a mountain of dirty dishes in the sink.

    Given how much money Dennison says he makes, he could have hired a real caterer. That display of burgers in wrappers looks plain tacky.

  27. An Interested Party says:

    Given how much money Dennison says he makes, he could have hired a real caterer. That display of burgers in wrappers looks plain tacky.

    That was meant to look that way…after all, President Pissy Pants is nothing if not tacky…

  28. Teve says:

    I like Jim Wright’s comment:

    “That’s some idiocracy level shit Right there. The only thing missing is ‘brought to you by Carl’s jr.'”

  29. Kathy says:


    I don’t recall Wildcat, but then I was a lowly user.

    2400 baud looked good when you tried to download shareware games with a 1200 baud. By the time of the 24600 baud, though, the web was slooooooow.

    I also recall a program that allowed you to download all the posts and read and reply to them off line.

  30. Gustopher says:

    Is James Pearce ok? I would expect him to chime in with something about for all this talk of bad polls, Trump is still President and the government is still closed.

    Can we get a wellness check on him?

    I don’t see what value polls have on Trump’s behavior, since he just dismissed them out of hand as fake news. He doesn’t care what Democrats think, and clearly anyone who doesn’t support him is a Democrat.

    Meanwhile, the Trump administration is (illegally) opening very narrow parts of the government, to reduce the damage that the shutdown causes to his base and to the wealthy. The IRS sending out refund checks, for instance, or the park gates being left open.

    I fully expect TSA agents at PreCheck gates to be declared “essential” and get paid, but not the rest of them.

    I don’t think the Democrats should give him anything, other than a vague promise to negotiate once the government is reopened, but I don’t see how polls of Americans at large turn into pain for a TeaParty/Trumpist infused Republican Party more concerned about primaries than general elections.

  31. Teve says:

    Trumpers don’t realize that they’re never going to get that wall. there are literally thousands of people who own that land, meaning there would be thousands of eminent domain cases in federal court, which is already backed up on eminent domain cases like a decade, which means construction wouldn’t begin to start seriously until like 2030 at the earliest, and the stupid wall idea would be canceled long before then anyway. Trumpers don’t understand that they’ve already lost. And because they don’t understand that they’ve lost, they’re supporting Trump in the shutdown, which intelligent people are rightfully blaming on Trump and the GOP, making their prospects even worse for 2020.

    These people are not geniuses. xeni Jardin was right. These people are the cow on the billboard eating the steak dinner.

  32. Teve says:

    It’s usually wonkette I enjoy for their subtle headlines but right now it’s Paul Krugman.

    Donald Trump and his team of morons.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:In order to keep my perspective on my predictive abilities, whenever the subject of modem speeds comes up I make myself admit that I once argued forcefully and logically that modem speeds would never go above 3Kbaud on a standard phone line. It was very well reasoned. Astoundingly, the facts it was based on refused to remain in effect.

  34. rachel says:

    @Teve: And it’s called “IEEE”!?

    How apt.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: “Can we get a wellness check on him?”

    A wellness check only detects mental illness to the degree that the patient self-reports.

  36. Teve says:

    New York times, which I’ve already used up all my access to this month or I’d give a link to, says that privately Trump has told aides he wants to completely pull the US out of NATO.

  37. Teve says:

    @rachel: yup. Among many other things, it specifies how floating-point rounding operations are required to perform. Prior to it there were 4+ different rounding specs in use which made for some tedious headaches. Remarkably, though it was adopted in 1985 there is still some weirdo noncompliant hardware out there.

    IEEE p754

  38. Mikey says:

    @Teve: Putin’s most fervent wish. Unbelievable. Or, sadly, believable.

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: It says something about my life that I use the “Open Private Window” function in my browser primarily to get around page view limits on a couple of news sites. (Although I am a subscriber to the NYT.)

  40. mattbernius says:


    Is James Pearce ok? I would expect him to chime in with something about for all this talk of bad polls, Trump is still President and the government is still closed.

    Can we get a wellness check on him?

    Could we avoid doing this type of stuff? Yes, most of us think James is wrong in his analysis. But this type of needling behavior is just kinda jerky. Or rather, I feel like it’s just an ugly form of internet teasing.

    Put a different way, having gone down long debates with him, James isn’t the type of guy who easily admits that he’s wrong. Trying to shame him into it, or poking fun at him when he’s not even participating is just asking for trolling.

    Especially when the facts on the ground really haven’t changes (if anything they’ve just become more entrenched).

  41. Kathy says:


    In the early 90s, I had PC with an 80286 processor and a 1200 baud modem. By the time the 80486 processor became common, I thought seriously (really!) that it was too fast and unnecessary.

    In my defense, this was well before online video and realistic 3D graphics. back then I was glad to be able to download a photo on to a web page and get a simple recorded WAV file to play a short recorded sound.

    Now I wonder what’s holding up quantum computers (*), and whether we’ll ever develop something like superluminal CPUs.

    (*) I know such quantum processors as exist are sensitive as hell, and that a sneeze a mile away causes all the qubits to decohere.

  42. gVOR08 says:

    My first work “PC” was a shared TRS 80. For home we got a Compaq. Had to drive an hour to Indianapolis to buy it. Most expensive PC I ever bought, in nominal dollars. Portable, so my wife could take it to school. 8088, 8” monochrome CRT, two 5” floppies, keyboard in the cover. About the size, shape, and weight of a portable sewing machine. (I’m writing this in a coffee shop on an iPad.) Bought a daisy wheel printer to go with it. To answer the obvious question, I’m so old my first software class involved keypunch machines.

  43. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: I remember the Compaq “Sewing Machine” all too well. 28 lbs if I recall correctly…

  44. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: I vaguely recall someone at the time saying it appeared that if it didn’t require 440V power, wasn’t welded to large diameter plumbing, and wasn’t in deep space, it was portable.

  45. Kathy says:

    My first computer was an Apple ][e with, I think, 256 KB and a duo-disk. That was the last Apple anything I owned in my life.

    My first PC was a generic 80286 with 1 whole MB RAM and a whooping 40 MB hard drive. I thought at first the hard drive was supposed to be a backup for data, while software would run on floppies as it did in the Apple of course.

  46. DrDaveT says:

    First personal computers:
    Commodore 64
    Sinclair ZX-81

    First professional computers:
    Nicolet 1080
    CDC Cyber 855 mainframe
    HP “desktop calculator” proto-workstation

    I just barely avoided the punched-card era. The Nicolet loaded programs on punched paper tape, but had a teletype (paper feed) terminal and oscilloscope. The CDC was still mostly running batch card decks, but had an experimental interactive operating system shell that I was happy to use instead. The HP had a remarkably sophisticated version of BASIC and was used for lab data collection and postprocessing.