Vast Majority Of Americans Oppose Government Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood Funding

With two weeks left until the Federal Government runs out of money, and the issue still quite unresolved, a new poll shows that the vast majority of Americans would oppose a government shutdown over funding for Planned Parenthood.

Capitol Building Dusk

With just fifteen days left until the end of the Fiscal Year, by which point Congress must either approve a new budget for the Fiscal Year that begins on October 1st or, at the very least, a Continuing Resolution to allow the government to continue operating, it’s crunch time on Capitol Hill. While there seems to be very little disagreement over the broad outlines of the new budget in terms of spending priorities, we’ve once again reached a point where some groups seem to be intent on using the September 30th deadline and the threat of a government shutdown if neither a new budget nor a resolution are approved to try to win their own political battles. Two years ago, of course, the battle was over the Affordable Care Act and the rather quixotic crusade led by Ted Cruz and a small group of conservatives to “defund” the President’s signature piece of domestic legislation. Despite the fac that House Leadership and Senate Leadership both had said for weeks that a shutdown would be unwise, the conservative cabal ended up forcing a shutdown that lasted sixteen days and causing real damage to Republican Party.

This time around, the battle is over the Federal Government’s funding for Planned Parenthood, which amounts to roughly $500 million and which has been the subject of attack for several years now. This time around, the attacks are fueled by the release of a series of videos over the summer purporting to show the organization discussing the sale of fetal tissue, although to date none of the investigations of that matter have found any illegal activity. While an effort to strip funding failed in the Senate prior to the summer recess, conservatives have not been deterred, and many of them have called for the issue to be renewed during the upcoming budget debate and for Republicans to threaten a shutdown over the matter. Just as we saw in the run up to the Obamacare shutdown two years ago, leaders on Capitol Hill such as Mitch McConnell have warned against a shutdown and said that the GOP does not have the votes to defund Planned Parenthood.

Now, we have polling showing that the vast majority of Americans oppose the idea of a shutdown as well:

A huge majority wants Congress to keep the government open, regardless of whether that means providing funding to Planned Parenthood, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Monday.

The poll finds that 71 percent of adults say it is more important for Congress to approve a spending bill to keep the government open, compared to 22 percent who say it is more important to eliminate all federal funds for Planned Parenthood.

The poll comes as Republicans grapple with how to avoid a shutdown. GOP leaders in the House are coming under heavy pressure from conservatives to block funding for Planned Parenthood. Congress must pass a funding bill by Oct. 1.

The percentage looking to avoid a shutdown is somewhat larger than it was in September 2013, ahead of a shutdown fight over ObamaCare. That year, a CNN/ORC poll found 60 percent prioritized avoiding a shutdown, while 31 percent wanted to cut off ObamaCare funds more. The government still ended up shutting down for 16 days that year.

The poll Monday shows that Republicans slightly prioritize avoiding a shutdown over defunding Planned Parenthood, by a margin of 48 percent to 44 percent.

Men and women have largely similar views. Men prioritize avoiding a shutdown by a margin of 70 percent to 21 percent, while women do by 71 percent to 24 percent.

Given past polling on the issue of a government shutdown regardless of the reason for the shutdown, this entirely unsurprising. In general, the voters clearly seem to oppose the idea of shutting down the government over an ideological battle of any kind. Instead, they seem to tend to see a shutdown as just another example of Congress failing to do its job. Republican obviously believe that by threatening a shutdown they can score political points on the issue of Planned Parenthood funding, at least with their conservative base, but given the fact that other polling has shown that the GOP would receive the blame for a shutdown this time just as it did in 2013, it seems fairly clear that the cost of a shutdown would be far greater than whatever benefit the party might receive from it. Additionally, given the fact that Planned Parenthood funding amounts to roughly $500 million in a budget of nearly $4 trillion, in other words less than one one-hundredth of what the Federal Government will spend over the next twelve months, it seems rather foolish to risk such a high stakes political battle on such an issue.

With less than two weeks to go before the budget deadline, leadership on Capitol Hill is hoping to placate the activists who have been pushing for defunding with some other measures. The Senate, for example, will vote on a bill that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks and a standalone defunding bill separate from the actual budget. These bills would obviously pass the Republican House, but would most assuredly not survive a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, so they would basically just be symbolic votes. Whether this will be enough to placate the activists remains to be seen. Everyone in charge in both the House and the Senate is pledging that there will not be a shutdown this time around, and they seem to have everything lined up to make sure that happens. At the same time, though, it’s worth remembering that these same leaders were also saying there would be no shutdown two years, and we know what happened then. It may take until the waning hours of September 30th before we know for sure how this will turn out.

FILED UNDER: Congress, 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.

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    The beauty part is that a shutdown will force the presidential candidates to either endorse or reject Congressional Republicans.

  2. Paul L. says:

    Doug forgot to parrot the BS 20 billion dollar claim that progressives say that the last shutdown cost.

    Remember how the Republicans paid a heavy price and lost seats after the last shutdown.

  3. Franklin says:

    $500 million in a budget of nearly $4 trillion, in other words less than one one-hundredth

    Far less. In fact, it’s barely more than one ten-thousandths.

  4. al-Ameda says:

    A huge majority wants Congress to keep the government open, regardless of whether that means providing funding to Planned Parenthood, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Monday.

    The poll finds that 71 percent of adults say it is more important for Congress to approve a spending bill to keep the government open, compared to 22 percent who say it is more important to eliminate all federal funds for Planned Parenthood.

    I’m of the opinion that polling on this subject does not matter because as we have learned over the past 4-5 years, Republicans suffer no negative consequences as a result of shutting down government. In fact, they have steadily gained power in both the House and the Senate. Republicans even stated publicly that the negative consequences of possible default on federal debt securities were greatly overstated by everyone opposed to the GOP strategy of leveraging an increase in the Debt Limit Ceiling against a threatened shutdown.

    The public can mislead pollsters – I think this is one of those times.

    A good follow-up question would have been: Q: If you are a Republican and the Republican Party did shutdown government over funding of Planned Parenthood – would you support the Republican Party? I think a great majority of Republicans wouldn’t answer that question honestly – it’s kind of bad PR to say right upfront that you favor ongoing GOP dysfunction.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    The important thing is; what does Trump, the de facto leader of the once great Republican party, want?
    Trump says you betcha he would. And he thinks Cruz was right in 2013 to shut the Government down over Obamacare…even though the 16 day shut down has had zero effect on what is a very effective health care reform.

    “If the Republicans stuck together you could have done it with Obamacare also, but the Republicans decided not to stick together and they left a few people out there like Ted Cruz…If they had stuck together they wold have won that battle. I think you have to in this case [on Planned Parenthood] also, yes.”

  6. C. Clavin says:

    @Paul L.:
    Do you understand the concept of gerry-mandering? Yeah…apparently not.

  7. Neil Hudelson says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Yup. The 2nd worst part of the shutdown (the first being the actual shutdown) was that the Republicans, despite achieving near universal negative poll numbers, paid no political price for it. It occurred too far away from an election for it to be fresh in the voting populace’s mind.

    Now? If the government does shut down anytime in the next 8 weeks, a debate will either occur during the shutdown, or within 10 business days.

    I know a lot of liberals on this thread are atheists, but admit it…it’s starting to feel like some providence going on this round.

  8. C. Clavin says:

    @Paul L.:
    Another troll debunked in mere seconds…

    Financial ratings agency Standard & Poor’s reported this week the 16-day U.S. government shutdown costs delivered a massive $24 billion hit to the U.S. economy.
    Standard & Poor’s said the shutdown equaled some $1.5 billion a day and “shaved at least 0.6% off annualized fourth quarter 2013 GDP growth.” Moody’s Analytics reported similar numbers, saying the shutdown cost $1.4375 billion per day, for a $23 billion wallop to U.S. gross domestic product.
    “The bottom line is the government shutdown has hurt the U.S. economy,” Standard & Poor’s said in a statement. “In September, we expected 3% annualized growth in the fourth quarter because we thought politicians would have learned from 2011 and taken steps to avoid things like a government shutdown and the possibility of a sovereign default. Since our forecast didn’t hold, we now have to lower our fourth-quarter growth estimate to closer to 2%.”

  9. C. Clavin says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    The impact will be to the Presidential election, and you rightly point to the debate.
    Congress-critters, on the other hand, are the safest critters out there. Teflon. That’s why there was no impact in 2013.

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @Paul L.:

    Remember how the Republicans paid a heavy price and lost seats after the last shutdown.

    Yes the price they paid is that they took over the Senate and maintained a significant majority in the House. Every night I say a Rosary for the vanquished Republican Party.

  11. Mikey says:

    I wish I could say I can’t believe these guys are actually seriously considering a government shutdown over this, but I know better. Republicans hate all the people a shutdown would directly impact, and they’re too stupid to understand how the negative effects spread through the entire economy (to wit: Paul L.) so they all get big, dopey grins when the subject is raised.

  12. Paul L. says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Link?
    How did Financial ratings agency Standard & Poor’s rate mortgage backed securities?
    or
    SEC Announces Charges Against Standard & Poor’s for Fraudulent Ratings Misconduct

  13. James Pearce says:

    Additionally, given the fact that Planned Parenthood funding amounts to roughly $500 million in a budget of nearly $4 trillion, in other words less than one one-hundredth of what the Federal Government will spend over the next twelve months, it seems rather foolish to risk such a high stakes political battle on such an issue.

    Most disturbing about this latest round of shutdown mania is how utterly petty it is.

    The saying is “Hitch your wagon to a star.” A star. Not a damn anchor that’s going to drag you down.

  14. Ron Beasley says:

    I along with many others will be really pissed if I don’t get my Social Security in October. Bad politics indeed.

  15. gVOR08 says:

    @James Pearce: Epistemic closure. It’s important to them, so it’s important to everyone. Also a prime example of conservatives believing their own BS.

  16. Mu says:

    The problem is that the vast majority of “family value wing” Republicans are from safe districts – the only fear they have is a primary challenge from the right for being soft on Christ’s demands. They will not lose their jobs for costing the US economy money – that only helps in portraying Obama as a failure. It probably will cost the Republicans the crucial 2 -3 % independent swing in some battle states and deny them the White House. But that’s not their concern, as long as their jobs and the associated privileges are here to stay.

  17. MikeSJ says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    I along with many others will be really pissed if I don’t get my Social Security in October. Bad politics indeed.

    If S.S. is impacted I’d hope the Government could somehow stop payments to the states whose Senators voted against the shutdown.

    So CA. for example would get all the various federal funds allocated and Utah and Texas would have their Medicare and S.S. payments halted.

    I could live with that.

  18. Pete S says:

    @al-Ameda: I would like to see a further follow up question along the lines of “Exactly what would your chosen political party have to do for you to vote for the opposition”. I don’t think government shutdown makes the top 10 unless a few social security cheques have been missed.

  19. Pinky says:

    Additionally, given the fact that Planned Parenthood funding amounts to roughly $500 million in a budget of nearly $4 trillion, in other words less than one one-hundredth of what the Federal Government will spend over the next twelve months, it seems rather foolish to risk such a high stakes political battle on such an issue.

    But that’s not really the point, is it? I don’t think most people were bothered by how much waterboarding costs, for example, or by the expense of NSA surveillance. There are things that people don’t want the government to do.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    This is what the Republicans are willing to work for. This and the 43rd vote to defund Obamacare. Or investigating Benghazi. They literally have nothing else they will break a sweat over. Do you think a single Republican congress critter is sitting up at night in conference rooms figuring out how they can get their education initiative passed, or trying to make sure our funding/outlay system is set for the aging population, or advancing legislation to deal with the Chinese government putting their heavy thumbs on the scale in international trade, or how we make sure that the next round of transportation or other infrastructure advancements occur in the US rather than China or Germany? Of course not. People entering congress that care about those things have been exclusively Democratic for a generation. Oh, the odd serious Republican freshman might make it in, but they either toss that stuff aside or are primaried out the next election.

  21. Tony W says:

    I am continually amazed at where the Republicans will plant their flag. This time solidly opposed to fundamental health care for women. It’s like they’ve just given up on getting any significant group of people under 60 years old to vote for them altogether. When your base requires you to alienate huge majorities of the population only gerrymandering and propaganda will keep things going.

    Serious question – How friggin stupid do you have to be to vote Republican? Is there an IQ test you have to fail to even file your candidacy for office?

    I actually understand and empathize with the wealthy people voting in their own interests, but the Jesus wing and the nationalist idiots continue to amaze me with their sheer stupidity.

  22. James Pearce says:

    @Pinky:

    There are things that people don’t want the government to do.

    As you know, there is wide disagreement on what those things are. For instance, the pro-life types don’t want the government to fund Planned Parenthood, but they don’t mind the government requiring ultrasounds or parental notifications. Going back to gVOR08’s comment, this is not an issue that is really important to very many people. It’s very important to a small subset of our population, but maybe those people just don’t have their priorities right.

    The reason people are mentioning the cost is to point this out: This is a small issue that is frankly not important enough to justify a total shutdown.

    This is what Republicans need to hear: Get the votes. Do it right. If you can’t get the votes, let it go. None of us are on this earth forever and there are other things to do.

  23. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pinky: What Senators or Congresspersons were calling for a government shut down if waterboarding or NSA surveillance were not stopped?

    False analogy mu… never mind, I forgot to whom I was talking.

  24. Pinky says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: Not a perfect analogy, I know. The point of is was that money isn’t everything.

  25. Pinky says:

    The second and fourth government shutdowns in the modern budgeting era (post-Nixon) were over abortion funding. The sixth involved abortion and government pay raises. The fourteenth was over the Fairness Doctrine and the FCC as well as funding for the Contras. So budget battles haven’t always been about spending caps.

  26. Turgid Jacobian says:

    @Pinky: I wish I could both up and downvote this: up) yes, the amount of money is irrelevant to those 2-4 people who actually believe that PP commits murder; down) set the very small amount of what they’re doing against stopping all non security govt operations

  27. Pinky says:

    @Turgid Jacobian: You stated that so clearly that I almost want to upvote it.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pinky:

    But that’s not really the point, is it?

    No it’s not the point. The point is to deny health care for poor women causing no end of needless suffering and cancer deaths while claiming to be “pro-life”. If this debate had anything to do with outrage at what is purported to be shown in the videos the Republicans and their so called “pro-life” allies are so “horrified” by, they would be introducing laws against the recovery and preservation of fetal tissue for science. But they aren’t, and they won’t.

    I know that, you know that, and we all know you know that. So please, quit the faux outrage act. Nobody is buying it anymore.

    Numbers 5; 12-28

  29. Jack says:

    The vast majority of Americans disagree with the Iran deal. Those in charge say “so what”.

  30. An Interested Party says:

    The vast majority of Americans disagree with the Iran deal. Those in charge say “so what”.

    The vast majority of Americans think that the wealthy should pay more in taxes. Republicans in Congress say “so what”.

    We can play that game all day…

  31. Tillman says:

    Additionally, given the fact that Planned Parenthood funding amounts to roughly $500 million in a budget of nearly $4 trillion, in other words less than one one-hundredth of what the Federal Government will spend over the next twelve months, it seems rather foolish to risk such a high stakes political battle on such an issue.

    It also speaks to political priorities. Republicans in aggregate don’t seem as concerned about the $500 million we sunk to train Syrian fighters against ISIS producing, in one general’s words, 4 or 5 people fighting ISIS, even though it comes off as a far greater waste of resources since PP actually does good things in our country.

    Then again, this is just now coming to light, so I imagine we’ll be dealing with rolling shutdowns in the future.

  32. Pinky says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Faux outrage? Yeah, that’s a reasonable description of my comments (unless you read them).

  33. Pinky says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In fact, this is so illustrative of bad thinking that I have to highlight it. Here is what I’ve said on the thread so far:

    But that’s not really the point, is it? I don’t think most people were bothered by how much waterboarding costs, for example, or by the expense of NSA surveillance. There are things that people don’t want the government to do.

    Not a perfect analogy, I know. The point of is was that money isn’t everything.

    The second and fourth government shutdowns in the modern budgeting era (post-Nixon) were over abortion funding. The sixth involved abortion and government pay raises. The fourteenth was over the Fairness Doctrine and the FCC as well as funding for the Contras. So budget battles haven’t always been about spending caps.

    You stated that so clearly that I almost want to upvote it.

    Wow. Can’t you feel the faux outrage?

    Please read my comments next time before commenting on them.

  34. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    The Planned Parenthood hyperventilating of the moment over a deceptively edited video is the faux outrage. Your seeming defense of that faux outrage is what was being referenced.

  35. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: That doesn’t make sense – he told me to quit the faux outrage.

  36. Just Me says:

    I support defunding planned parenthood and my disgust over abortion, late term abortion and the profiting from the body parts isn’t faux.

    I don’t support defunding efforts forcing a shutdown. I would rather see a bill that defunds the abortion mills. The money can instead go towards the clinics that aren’t in the business of abortion.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pinky: Ohhh…. My bad. I mistook all the faux outrage you were passing on to actually have meaning to you. My bad and so so very sorry. But if you aren’t upset about this, why do you repeatedly post about it? Never mind, I already know. Not that you will ever admit it, will you?

  38. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    Perhaps he should have said, ” quit defending the faux outrage.” Would that have been better?

  39. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: Not really, because he also said “nobody is buying it anymore”. He apparently saw people beating up on me on another thread and tried to join in, but hadn’t read the thread or didn’t understand it. I don’t know how else to explain the fact that it mirrored the riff that you’ve been taking on me, but didn’t apply to what I’ve said on this thread.

  40. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: Also, the outrage against Planned Parenthood is real, but I’m the one who has been accused of faux outrage, so your explanation really doesn’t work.

  41. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    Some of the people’s feelings of outrage are no doubt real, but the current outrage is fueled by a deceptively edited piece created and circulated by a partisan. That is why the current outrage is faux, not because it isn’t felt, but because it is based on falsehoods.

    BTW What is my current riff on you?

  42. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: I don’t know, the other guys over on the doom and gloom thread, then.

  43. Matt says:

    @Just Me: Good news then as PP is losing money when they “sell” tissues. PP’s rates are below others that provide the same material.

    So now you don’t have to worry about PP profiting off the sale of tissues.

    “Abortion mill”.. You left reality completely by the time you made that comment.

    A tiny fraction of PPs do abortion. There isn’t even one within a 4 hour drive of here that does abortion. Yet the religious nuts are out there protesting nearly daily. Shows how “pro-life” they really are to protest a location that is providing health services that saves lives….