Poll: Obamacare Defunding Leader Mike Lee Sees His Popularity Dip Sharply At Home

This May 18, 2013, file photo, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee addresses the Utah Republican Party's annual organizing convention in Sandy, Utah.
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The senator who spearheaded the campaign to defund the Affordable Care Act has seen his popularity sink at home, according to a poll released Wednesday.

A little more than half of Utahns — 51 percent — said they have an unfavorable opinion of Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the online poll from Brigham Young University showed. Only 40 percent said they have a favorable opinion of Lee, down from 50 percent in June.

Utah Republicans have even cooled on Lee. In June, 71 percent of in-state Republicans had a favorable opinion of Lee, while the latest poll showed 57 percent of Beehive State GOPers have a favorable view of the senator.

Moreover, the poll found 57 percent of Lee’s constituents want him to compromise on a budget.

Although his role in the defunding movement has been largely overshadowed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lee laid the groundwork for the quixotic effort that led to the first government shutdown since 1996. As National Review reported, Lee began courting influential right-wing shock jocks like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity in early July to build support for the defunding plan.

Lee was dismissive of the poll numbers. 

“The only numbers I’m concerned with are the percentage of Utahns who are feeling the negative effects of Obamacare through lost jobs, wages, hours and health care,” he said in a statement, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Polls have consistently shown that the shutdown as damaged Republicans, with most Americans blaming the GOP for the impasse. But Cruz isn’t sweating the poll numbers either. In fact, the freshman Texas senator reportedly shared his own poll findings with Republicans on Wednesday to support his case that the shutdown hasn’t actually been toxic for the GOP. 

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