A leading conservative group unveiled poll results Wednesday that it said should assuage Republicans who are squeamish about shutting down the government in an effort to defund Obamacare.
The poll from Heritage Action for America, first reported by NBC News, surveyed likely voters from 10 competitive House districts. According to Heritage Action, the results prove that triggering a government shutdown in an attempt to gut the new health care law would not be detrimental to the GOP.
The poll, conducted by GOP firm Basswood Research between Aug. 7-8, found that 28 percent of voters in the 10 districts would blame Republicans for a shutdown over defunding Obamacare, compared with 22 percent who would place blame on President Barack Obama and 19 percent who would blame Democrats in Congress. Seventeen percent said they would distribute blame equally among all three groups.
The poll also showed that 60 percent of voters would back a “temporary slowdown in non-essential federal government operations, which still left all essential government services running” if Obama could agree to at least slow the implementation of the law.
Michael Needham, the CEO of Heritage Action, told NBC that Republicans in the House “should be much more concerned with the fallout of failing to defund Obamacare than with the imaginary fallout of doing so.” Jon Lerner, a pollster for Heritage Action, argued that there “is no present evidence that a move to defund Obamacare, and the potential of a partial government shutdown, would harm Republican prospects of holding the House majority.”
The battle over defunding Obamacare and risking a government shutdown has caused a growing schism on the right. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Marco Rubio (R-FL) , Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have led the defunding charge in Congress, with groups like Heritage Action backing their efforts.
Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, have spoken out strongly against causing a government shutdown. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Tuesday that shutting down the government won’t really halt the implementation of Obamacare, a point that is backed up by congressional data. House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said bluntly last week that Republicans simply don’t have the votes to defund Obamacare.