Poll Indicates GOP Has Been Deeply Damaged By Shutdown Fight

AP

Republicans in Washington insist they have simply been upholding the wishes of the American people throughout their efforts to block the Affordable Care Act, but a poll released Tuesday tells a very different story.

In fact, the latest survey from Quinnipiac University contains a ton of bad news for the GOP. For starters, 72 percent of Americans said they are opposed to shutting down the government in an effort to block implemntation of the health care law. A poll last week also showed a wide majority opposed to shutting down the government over Obamacare.

The federal government shut down for the first time since 1996 on Tuesday morning amid Republican-led efforts to include policy concessions on the health care law in must-pass bills to fund the government.

While Quinnipiac’s poll showed that the Affordable Care Act remains polarizing — 45 percent support it while 47 percent are opposed — 58 percent said they are opposed to Congress cutting off funding for the law. Seventy-four percent said they disapprove of congressional Republicans while only 17 percent said they approve — their lowest score ever in Quinnipiac’s polling.

Democrats in Congress came out marginally better in the poll — 32 percent approve while 60 percent disapprove — but the party may enter next year’s midterm elections with an upper-hand over the GOP.

The poll showed that voters gave the nod to a generic Democrat over a generic Republican ahead of the 2014 congressional races, 43 percent to 34 percent. According to Quinnipiac, that’s the widest advantage enjoyed by Democrats on that particular question.

As Washington enters yet another fiscal battle, the poll found more Americans backing President Obama than Republicans on Capitol Hill. Fifty-five percent said gridlock is due to the GOP’s determination to block any of Obama’s proposals, while just 33 percent blame the president’s lack of skill. Majorities said they trust Obama more than congressional Republicans on helping low income families and helping the middle class, while pluralities trust the president over the GOP on health care and the economy. 

Senior Republicans like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) have long maintained that a government shutdown is a political loser for their party, an argument backed by polling. A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday showed that more Americans will blame the GOP than Obama for a government shutdown.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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