Polls: Yes, The GOP Is Losing The Shutdown Fight

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) pauses during a news conference after a House Republican Conference meeting about the ongoing budget fight on Capitol Hill on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 in Washington.
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Republicans and conservatives insist that they’ll emerge victorious from the current budget impasse, but polls have consistently told a different story.

Monday saw a slew of new polling, including findings from outlets that previously conducted surveys on the government shutdown. The latest polls found some movement in public opinion, but that doesn’t mean that the circumstances have changed for the GOP.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll on Monday showed 51 percent of the public disapproving of Obama’s handling of the budget talks and 61 percent disapproving of congressional Democrats — amounting to upticks of one and five points respectively since last week. But approval of Obama’s handling actually rose four points to 45 percent, while approval of congressional Democrats remained virtually unchanged at 35 percent.

Disapproval of congressional Republicans, meanwhile, jumped from 63 percent in ABC/WaPo’s poll last week to 70 percent on Monday. There was little change in the GOP’s approval numbers, dipping only two points in ABC/WaPo’s polling to 24 percent in the last week.

According to Monday’s CNN/ORC International poll, 63 percent said they are angry with the way Republicans have handled the shutdown, slightly more than the 57 percent who expressed anger at Democrats. Fifty-three percent said they are angry with the way Obama has handled the situation.

Those numbers could be seen as an extension of CNN/ORC’s pre-shutdown polling, which found 46 percent of Americans saying they would blame Republicans on Capitol Hill for a shutdown compared with 36 percent who said they would fault Obama.

Pew Research Center also conducted polling ahead of the shutdown, finding two weeks ago that about as many Americans said they would blame Republicans as Obama. At that time, 36 percent said they would blame the Obama administration for such an outcome while 39 percent said they would blame the GOP.

Pew’s release on Monday suggested that the public is now giving Obama a break: 30 percent said the administration is more to blame for the shutdown, while 38 percent said they blame Republicans.

Both sides have acknowledged the political implications of the shutdown. An unnamed White House official was quoted last week as saying that Obama’s team is “winning,” while Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was recorded expressing similar confidence during a conversation with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Conservatives in both Congress and the media have also argued that they are on the right side of the issue. RedState.com editor Erick Erickson wrote Tuesday that polls showing “more Americans blame the GOP than Barack Obama” actually prove “the GOP is winning.” Lawmakers like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have argued that the crusade to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act is an adherence to public will. It has become a sticking point for the most conservative wing of the GOP and it was the impetus for the shutdown.

But polls have contradicted that. Surveys last week from Quinnipiac University and CBS News both showed more than 70 percent of Americans opposed to shutting down the government over differences related to the health care law.

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