Poll: Public Would Blame GOP For Government Shutdown

The GOP's plan to defund reality becomes even more disconnected from reality.

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With Syria behind it, Congress is beginning to move on to the other issues that it needs to deal with including, most prominently, the Federal budget for the next fiscal year which must be passed by the end of September. As I’ve noted before, there’s a certain segment of the GOP who sees this as an opportunity to make an attack on the Affordable Care Act, most notably Senator Ted Cruz, who is leading an effort that would clearly lead to a government shutdown if Democrats failed to agree to defund the law. Cruz and his supporters contend that the GOP could succeed in this strategy because public antipathy for the health care law would cause them to support rally around Republicans even in the fact of a government shutdown. Not surprisingly, a new CNN/ORC poll says something quite different:

Washington (CNN) – With the clock ticking towards two crucial deadlines, a new national poll indicates congressional Republicans would shoulder more blame than President Barack Obama for a possible government shutdown.

But according to a CNN/ORC International survey, support for the president’s health care law appears to be waning.

The poll’s Wednesday release comes less than three weeks before the current measure funding the federal government expires on September 30, setting up another budget battle between congressional Republicans and the White House. That deadline comes one day before a key element in the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, takes effect. Enrollment in the health care exchanges that form the core of the new law begins on October 1.

Some conservative lawmakers, backed by some tea party and other grassroots conservative groups, are using upcoming budget battle as leverage, vowing to oppose any measure that provides funding for the federal government from including money for the health care law. A shutdown of the government would kick in if Congress doesn’t hammer out a new spending plan by the beginning of next month, which is the start of the new federal budget year.

According to the poll, if a government shutdown lasted only a few days, 11% of Americans think that would cause a crisis and another 38% forecast major problems. But if a shutdown lasted a few weeks, the number who think the country would face a crisis rises from 11% to 31%, and the number who believe major problems would result increases a bit to 43%.

So whom would Americans blame if the government shutdown?

“Only a third would consider President Barack Obama responsible for a shutdown, with 51% pointing a finger at the GOP – up from 40% who felt that way earlier this year,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Republicans wouldn’t fare much better in a showdown over the debt limit either:

Seventeen percent of those polled say failure to extend the debt ceiling would cause a crisis, with another 45% forecasting major problems for the country. The poll indicates a quarter would blame the president if the debt ceiling were not raised, with 54% holding congressional Republicans responsible.

The one bright spot for the GOP appears to be that the public is continuing to sour on the Affordable Care Act:

In January 51% said they favored all or most of the provisions in the new law. Now that figure is down to 39%.

Support has dropped in virtually all demographic categories, but it has fallen the farthest among two core Democratic groups – women and Americans who make less than $50,000.

“Those are also the two groups that are most likely to pay attention to health insurance issues, and possibly the ones most likely to be affected by any changes,” adds Holland. “That may be particularly true for lower-income Americans who are most likely to have part-time jobs, be on Medicaid, or not currently have health insurance and thus be the first to have to navigate the new system.”

Of course, the law has not fared well in the polls for quite some time now, and the GOP has consistently failed to find a way to benefit from that when election time rolls around. Will that be the true in 2014 and 2016 as well? Only time will tell, but what’s clear right now is that Cruz and the rest of the Tea Party are leading the GOP down a political dead end with their shutdown strategy. The only way to impact the law at all is to win elections, and until the GOP does that and gets control of the Senate and the White House the idea that they can somehow magically bring an end to what has become the signature legislation of President Obama’s time in office is nothing more than a fantasy.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Health Care, 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Moosebreath says:

    As a hint, when one party is saying publicly and repeatedly that they are willing to shut down the government in order to get their way, it’s a good bet that they will be the ones blamed if the government actually is shut down.

  2. legion says:

    Have these polls ever hinted at any other result? Why do people keep asking this question? The GOP is actively obstructing anything that might benefit a Democrat, even if it means trashing the entire country. They’ve admitted as much. F*ck ’em.

  3. KM says:

    @ legion: Have these polls ever hinted at any other result?

    No, but the denial is strong with them. For people like that, it’s always someone else’s fault and they are continually surprised when not only blamed, but held accountable for the words and actions they take. Much like the 2yr who screams and hits but can’t understand why they’re put in timeout – it literally never occurs to them that consequences can and will happen because of this crap (see credit downgrade for example)

  4. Facebones says:

    Of course, the law has not fared well in the polls for quite some time now, and the GOP has consistently failed to find a way to benefit from that when election time rolls around.

    The reason Republicans can’t take advantage of general disapproval of Obamacare is simple. Many liberals don’t like Obamacare because it doesn’t go far enough and wanted to see a version of single payer or expanded medicare.

    That does not (and will never) translate to support for Republicans who oppose it. Liberals who don’t like Obamacare will accept it because it is was better than whatever non-plan the Tea Party has in mind.

  5. bunchofprisylittlegirls says:

    Public will blame the Republicans for________________________.

    Does it matter?

    It is like Rangel on the campaign trail.
    “There is no reason ___________________________ should have to pay for __________________________. ”

    Just fill in the blanks and you have the modern liberal party in action.

  6. Eric Florack says:

    they will defend Obamacare or they will be removed from their office.
    its that simple.

  7. mantis says:

    @Eric Florack:

    they will defend Obamacare or they will be removed from their office.

    Who will defend Obamacare? Republicans? The edit button is there for a reason, bithead.

    Most people don’t refer to elections as “removing” elected officials from office. You and your brethren planning a revolution?

  8. David M says:

    I like how Florack thinks. Because they don’t have enough GOP votes to repeal Obamacare, every GOP member of Congress should be replaced. It’s genius.

  9. al-Ameda says:

    Republicans: “We will obstruct everything the president does, even to the point of forcing a downgrade of American bonds.”

    Pollster: “Who would you hold responsible for a government shutdown?
    Polled Republicans: “President Obama”
    Polled Intelligent People: “Republicans, why do you ask?”

  10. James Pearce says:

    @Eric Florack:

    they will defend Obamacare or they will be removed from their office.
    its that simple.

    But it’s not that simple.

    If the goal is to defund Obamacare, this isn’t a very good strategy. How many election cycles will it take to get a full slate of hardcore defunders? One, two, maybe three or four? Maybe it never happens. It’s a long shot either way.

    It may be better to focus on what can actually be done now. I have this feeling there is more of an appetite for revisions than recisions.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    The problem with conservatives is that they believe their own bullshit.

    As we seem to have to remind people, Obamacare is essentially Romneycare, which is a conservative Republican plan originally pushed by Heritage. There’s nothing about Obamacare that conservatives need to hate. But GOPs started attacking Obamacare as a matter of opposition to the prez. It was a tactic to prevent Obama’s reelection. And look, Obama won’t be reelected ever again. So they don’t need to attack Obamacare anymore.

    But the Mighty Rightwing Wurlitzer did such a great job of demonizing Obamacare with the base that the tactic has now become the goal.

  12. Tillman says:

    Hell, I pretty much blame the GOP for everything wrong in government nowadays. I’m astounded at how often I’m right.

    See, the problem is they’re playing the exact same cards concerning spending and debt that they’ve played for years without bothering to shuffle the deck a bit. Spending is bad, so we should strangle the government instead of reducing it. They can’t talk about reducing spending because the programs you’d have to cut are damn popular. But you can’t raise taxes to support the spending because they’ve spent decades now saying this holds back economic growth (and no one likes taxes). So they’ve invented the issuance of government debt as the real dysfunction and sold it to their base.

    The American public isn’t that stupid. Sure, it worked for a year or two, but then they started thinking about it and are increasingly coming around to seeing the GOP as full of $hit on this issue. The only people who honestly believe it are too partisan to surrender to reasonable debate.

  13. anjin-san says:

    @ mantis

    Bithead is the only person you know with a dedicated music server. You obviously don’t realize how special he is.

  14. Rob in CT says:

    Only a third would consider President Barack Obama responsible for a shutdown, with 51% pointing a finger at the GOP

    This is actually atrocious, given the words and actions of the GOP congresscritters. It’s not like it’s hard to figure out which group is playing around with government shutdowns, debt ceiling showdowns and the like. Maybe it was always this way, but there is something fundamentally nutty about a country that can barely muster a simple majority to agree that water is wet.

  15. David M says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Seems like a good time to bring up the Crazification Factor, so there’s 27% of people that will support the GOP regardless of the actual facts.

    They aren’t getting a lot of support above that, so this may be as good as it gets.

  16. Eric Florack says:

    @James Pearce: Strategy has nothing to do with what we are talking about, here. The american people in overwhelming numbers, want that monster killed off. what do you suppose the relax a of such voters of either party will be when the morons who didn’t defend the thing come up for reelection?

  17. David M says:

    @Eric Florack:

    You’re getting confused again. There is majority support for keeping, improving and expanding Obamacare. The GOP plan of repeal and do nothing only really polls at the crazification factor level at this point.

  18. legion says:

    @bunchofprisylittlegirls:

    Public will blame the Republicans for________________________.

    Just fill in the blanks and you have the modern liberal party in action.

    So, how does your cognitive dissonance deal with the part where the public really _does_ blame the Republicans? Do you blame the entire public for being liberal? Or your own party for becoming smaller & more out-of-touch with America every day?

  19. James Pearce says:

    @Eric Florack:

    The american people in overwhelming numbers, want that monster killed off.

    Not really…if that were so, an extreme measure like, I dunno, shutting down the government, would hardly be necessary. Truth is that the anti-Obamacare side has a perfect losing record on this one, even at the Supreme Court level.

    Best now to accept that the law will stand and to work at the margins to improve it. The Republican Party cannot afford to spend the next few election cycles fighting a battle it has already lost.

  20. Christopher M says:

    @gVOR08

    “The Mighty Rightwing Wurlitzer” is the funniest thing I’ve heard all week. And it does indeed seem that the opposition to the ACA was more of a Republican convenience that has now turned into the proverbial freight train without brakes.

  21. gVOR08 says:

    @Christopher M: Thank you, but hardly original with me. I don’t recall where I first saw it.

  22. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Eric Florack: I’m truly looking forward to the day when you reveal to the world that your online output for the past decade has actually been one long attempt to perfect your stand-up comedy persona before taking your act on the road.

  23. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    The American people support tax increases for the rich. Where do you stand on that issue?

  24. anjin-san says:

    Mighty Rightwing Wurlitzer

    I like this so much that I am putting up this link: Lee Michaels playing his mighty Hammond B3 for anyone who is depressed about the willful stupidity of conservatives.

    Nothing like a good tune to turn the day around…

  25. Ed in NJ says:

    Ignorant people like Florack have been believing the B.S. for so long now they think that on January 1 some huge behemoth of a new era of health care is going to set upon us. He’s probably bunkering down now.

    But the reality is that, yes, monumental change is about to take place, but not the way Republicans want. Because on January 1, millions of people who are underemployed, or have pre-existing conditions, or lost their jobs recently, or work for greedy aholes who refuse to provide insurance, are going to be able to protect themselves from the catastrophic effects of not having health insurance. Many, many small businesses who are getting squeezed by the rising costs of healthcare are going to be able to cover their employees for less under the new small business SHOP program AND increase their tax subsidies, leading to reduced costs for both those businesses and employees.

    You see, Republicans are desperate to defund this “monster” because between now and January, or even October, when enrollment starts, the jig is up. No more scare tactics. No more sabotaging educating consumers in order to make the law look unmanageable. Only millions of people getting the insurance they need and deserve, and knowing that is was the Democrats and President Obama that helped them get it, and it’s been the Republicans desperately trying to deny them. Try to defund that! Or defend.

    By the way, I say this as a licensed insurance agent who became a certified application counselor to help people navigate the new choices. I will be doing this gratis, as opposed to referring them to brokers, something that made me alot of money in the past.

  26. Woody says:

    Look, this isn’t hard. When Medicare was passed, the hard right was enraged, engaged in bitter calumny and prophesied the apocalyptic End of America.

    Of course, the program has proven rather popular, and now, the GOP must pretend to “protect” the pea in a three-card-monte act during the Early Bird Special.

    As to the ACA’s implementation, the Murdoch media will wildly trumpet every flaw – real or imagined, just as it would have on Medicare in 1965. If the program works, though, they’ll have to design a pivot and figure out another way to push the “protection” con, although this time they’ll have to sell it to a wider audience, not just seniors and near-seniors.

    Either way, Murdoch wins, though.

  27. anjin-san says:

    @ Ed in NJ

    I have a buddy who is a comedian, travels all over the wester US. He says there are a number of places where people are preparing, in all seriousness, for the day when “Obama kicks the true patriots off the power grid”.

  28. Kylopod says:

    @Eric Florack:

    The american people in overwhelming numbers, want that monster killed off.

    ~drumroll~

    The American people, in overwhelming numbers, would like taxes on the rich to go up.

    The American people, in overwhelming numbers, oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

    The American people, in overwhelming numbers, want an increase in the minimum wage.

    The American people, in overwhelming numbers, support a path to citizenship for immigrants.

    The American people, in overwhelming numbers, favor same-sex marriage.

    But as usual, neither you nor anyone else has called to shut down the government for any of those causes. Only Obamacare, because it is opposed by “overwhelming numbers” (actually a narrow plurality, according to most polls), must be destroyed, even if it is done through a method that overwhelming numbers of Americans oppose (and that has no realistic chance of succeeding, but never mind). That’s conservative logic for you.

    (And sorry guys for repeating a post I’ve directed at Eric several times in different threads, to no avail. We all know talking to him is like conversing with a robot with only a limited set of responses. I’m not posting these points for his benefit, but simply because they need to be made.)

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack: Behold: I give you the Party of Stupid.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ed in NJ:

    Because on January 1, millions of people who are underemployed, or have pre-existing conditions, or lost their jobs recently, or work for greedy aholes who refuse to provide insurance, are going to be able to protect themselves from the catastrophic effects of not having health insurance.

    You mean even people like Bithead? HEAVEN FORBID!!!!

  31. An Interested Party says:

    Such a slaughter…it really is like shooting fish in a barrel to ridicule and defeat the ideas of bithead and his fellow travelers…as for bunchofprisylittlegirls…nothing like a little projection, I suppose…

  32. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @bunchofprisylittlegirls: Can I try this?

    “There is not reason that big corporations should have to pay for the pension and health care benefits that they negotiated in their contracts.”

    Did I win?

  33. C. Clavin says:

    Shorter Florack:
    Keep the Government out of my Medicare.

  34. Barry says:

    @Facebones: “The reason Republicans can’t take advantage of general disapproval of Obamacare is simple. Many liberals don’t like Obamacare because it doesn’t go far enough and wanted to see a version of single payer or expanded medicare. ”

    Seconding this. Doug, by now you’ve been called on this. It’s rather a important thing, that half of the people who ‘oppose’ something do so because they want it to be stronger.

  35. Barry says:

    @James Pearce: “If the goal is to defund Obamacare, this isn’t a very good strategy. How many election cycles will it take to get a full slate of hardcore defunders? One, two, maybe three or four? Maybe it never happens. It’s a long shot either way.”

    And with each year, more people benefit.

  36. Barry says:

    @Eric Florack: “The american people in overwhelming numbers, want that monster killed off. ”

    Lie, as has been repeatedly pointed out.

  37. Barry says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “You mean even people like Bithead? HEAVEN FORBID!!!! ”

    Yes, in a few years we’ll see Tea Party people holding up signs saying ‘keep government hands off my RomneyCare!’.

    (or ‘HeritageCare’)

  38. grumpy realist says:

    One of my friends, who has been responsible for training over a thousand individuals in how to use certain cutting-edge high tech instrumentation for leading edge research, suffers from a rare auto-immune disorder. If he were to leave his present position, under the old health care rules he would never be able to purchase health insurance ever again.

    So what do you bozos who hate Obamacare suggest he do? Beggar himself? Die? Keep in mind that so far he has, via his training, contributed far more to America’s continued strength in science and technology than any of you have done.

  39. Pharoah Narim says:

    @grumpy realist: The free market would definitely help your friend’s predicament. Heres how: ………………………………….thinking………………………………………….
    ………thinking………………………thinking………………………………………………………………………thinking…………………………………………. nevermind.

  40. Matt says:

    I oppose Obamacare because I find it to be a giveaway to the insurance industry. I’d much rather see single payer and other changes but I guess something is better then nothing.

  41. al-Ameda says:

    @Matt:

    I oppose Obamacare because I find it to be a giveaway to the insurance industry. I’d much rather see single payer and other changes but I guess something is better then nothing.

    I initially opposed ACA for the same reason, however I saw (and still see it) as a chance to close the gap in the system where 35-45 million people are uninsured.