Most Americans Blame Trump And The GOP For Shutdown, Oppose Border Wall
New polling clearly indicates that the President is losing the battle for public opinion over the government shutdown.
With the government shutdown now officially on course to become the longest in American history, a series of new polls have nothing but bad news for the Trump Administration and Republicans. First, the latest poll from Politico and Morning Consult say that the President and the Republican Party are to blame for the shutdown:
President Donald Trump faces a tall task in his Oval Office address on Tuesday night: convincing voters outside of his political base that there is an urgent crisis at the nation’s southern border, that a wall along the border is necessary to solve it, and it’s worth a government shutdown that has stretched for nearly three weeks.
A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, conducted as the partial government shutdown reached its third week, reveals the scope of Trump’s challenge. A minority of voters agree with Trump’s description of a crisis of illegal immigration at the southern border. There’s only tepid support for the wall he wants to build there. Voters are opposed to shutting down the government to extract the funds for the wall’s construction — and more blame Trump and the GOP for the shutdown than Democrats.
Nearly half of voters, 47 percent, say Trump is mostly to blame for the shutdown, the poll shows, while another 5 percent point the finger at congressional Republicans. But just a third, 33 percent, blame Democrats in Congress.
[President Trump] has described conditions along the border from California east to Texas as “a crisis” — but less than half of voters (42 percent) view it as ‘a crisis,’ the poll shows. There is, however, widespread belief that the border is a serious issue: In addition to the 4-in-10 voters who say the border situation is ‘a crisis,’ another 37 percent say the U.S. has ‘a problem’ along the border, though they don’t view it as a crisis.
Just 12 percent say the U.S. faces neither a crisis nor a problem at the border.
The poll underscores Trump’s challenge in building popular support for his border policy and the shutdown it has sparked. He has the backing of his core supporters — which has served to perpetuate the fight over the border wall — but a majority of Americans don’t believe the border issue has reached crisis proportions. More than seven-in-10 Republicans, 72 percent, say the U.S. faces a crisis at the southern border, and 82 percent favor the wall.
“Our polling suggests Republican voters are responding well to President Trump’s handling of the contentious battle around the government shutdown,” said Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult’s vice president. “Notably, 69 percent of Republican voters blame congressional Democrats, and 15 percent blame President Trump for the government shutdown. Among the same group, the president’s approval crept upward, with 84 percent approving and 15 percent disapproving of his performance this week, compared to 81 percent approval and 18 percent disapproval pre-shutdown.”
But support from Republicans belies the president’s overall standing in the fight. Trump’s overall approval rating in the poll (43 percent), support for a border wall (44 percent) and the percentage of voters who say there is a crisis at the southern border (42 percent) are all in the low 40s. Among independent voters, Trump’s approval rating is 38 percent, 37 percent believe there is a crisis at the southern border and 37 percent support the construction of a border wall.
While more voters oppose construction of a border wall in the poll than support it, 47 percent to 44 percent, the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows slightly less opposition to the wall than other public surveys conducted before the shutdown. In a pre-shutdown Quinnipiac University poll last December, 54 percent of voters opposed a border wall, while 43 percent of voters favored one — the greatest level of support for the wall since Quinnipiac began asking about a wall in 2016.
But even if the wall was popular, the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll suggests voters would oppose shutting down the government to secure funding for it. Nearly two-thirds, 65 percent, say the president shouldn’t shut down the government to achieve his policy goals, while only 22 percent say a temporary shutdown is acceptable to change policy.
The numbers in a new Reuters/Ipsos poll are similar:
A growing proportion of Americans blame President Donald Trump for a partial government shutdown that will cut off paychecks to federal workers this week, though Republicans mostly support his refusal to approve a budget without taxpayer dollars for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.
The national opinion poll, which ran from Jan. 1 to Jan. 7, found that 51 percent of adults believe Trump “deserves most of the blame” for the shutdown, which entered its 18th day on Tuesday. That is up 4 percentage points from a similar poll that ran from Dec. 21 to 25.
Another 32 percent blame congressional Democrats for the shutdown and 7 percent blame congressional Republicans, according to the poll. Those percentages are mostly unchanged from the previous poll.
Public support for a border wall has shifted considerably over the past few years as it became a centerpiece of the Trump agenda. The poll found that 41 percent of the public supports building additional border fencing, down 12 points from a similar poll that ran in the first week of 2015, as opposition doubled among Democrats.
It also found that only 35 percent of adults in the United States support a congressional spending bill that includes funding for the wall, and 25 percent support Trump’s decision to keep the government closed until Congress approves funding for the wall.
Republicans, however, strongly support Trump’s pursuit of an expanded border wall. They have consistently ranked immigration as their top concern for the country. Seventy-seven percent of Republicans said in the most recent poll that they want additional border fencing, and 54 percent said they support Trump shutting down the government until Congress approves funding for the wall.
Similarly, a new poll from The Huffington Post shows that an increasing number of Americans are beginning to view the shutdown as a serious matter and that they blame the President for it. Specifically, 51% of those surveyed say that President Trump deserves at least partial responsibility for the shutdown, while 41% blame Democrats in Congress and 35% saying that Republicans in Congress deserve at least some of the blame. These numbers are largely consistent with where they stood last week. Finally, a new poll from The Hill finds that the vast majority of Americans want leaders in Washington to compromise:
President Trump has said that shutting down the federal government in support of his demand for a southern border wall is a “total winner” for him politically, but according to a new poll, the only people who oppose compromise on the issue are his strongest backers
An overwhelmingly 70 percent of registered voters in the latest The Hill-HarrisX poll said they want Trump and Congress to reach some sort of compromise, compared to just 30 percent who say that sticking to principles is more important than ending the partial shutdown.
The poll found that while Trump’s most fervent supporters approve of refusing to bend, no other demographic group did. Even then, voters who said they “strongly approve” of Trump did so by only a slim margin of 54 percent to 46 percent.
Voters who only somewhat approve of Trump were strongly in favor of compromise with 70 percent saying they wanted to see an accord reached while only 30 percent said they wanted policymakers to stick to principles.
That only Trump’s most fervent backers reject compromise may be politically problematic for the president since only 21 percent of voters said they strongly approve of him.
Among Republicans as a whole, a majority of 61 percent said they wanted a compromise while 39 percent said that staying tough was their preference.
People who somewhat disapproved of Trump favored a deal by a 78 percent to 22 margin, while those who strongly disapprove of the president said they wanted compromise 79 percent to 21 percent.
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 recent polling from National Public Radio and Morning Consult 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 42.4% while his disapproval stands at 53.7%, giving the President an -11.3 point gap in job approval. In the Pollster average, the President stands at 43.1% approval and 50.9% disapproval, for a gap of -7.8 point gap. Finally, in the FiveThirtyEight average, the President stands at 41.1% while his disapproval stands at 53.8%, for a gap of -12.7%. 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, and plenty of evidence to believe that he’s losing. Whether and when he’ll recognize that fact, though, is another question.