According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, a majority of Americans blame the Republicans for the federal government shutdown, dragging the Republican party popularity to its lowest level in the history of the poll. These results are consistent with a Gallup poll released on Wednesday.
More exactly, 53 percent of the public blames Republicans, while 31 percent blames President Obama– a jaw-dropping 22 point difference, a wider margin than during the 1995 shutdown.
The poll also indicates that the ostensible goal behind the GOP Congressional strategy–namely, a last-ditch effort led by Senator Ted Cruz and his Tea Party colleagues in the House to defund Obamacare in exchange for reopening the government– has apparently backfired [READ at the Washington Post's TheFix: Why Republicans are Losing the Shutdown Blame Government] MSNBC's Mark Murray explains:
As the party has used the shutdown and fiscal fight to campaign against the nation’s health-care law and for limited government, the poll shows those efforts have backfired.
For one thing, the health-care law has become more popular since the shutdown began. Thirty-eight percent see the Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”) as a good idea, versus 43 percent who see it as a bad idea – up from 31 percent good idea, 44 percent bad idea last month.
In addition, 50 percent say they oppose totally eliminating funding for the law, even if it that means a partial shutdown of the government. That’s up from 46 percent who said they opposed that move in a Sept. 2013 CNBC poll.
Latinos are among the groups most affected by the interruption of federal services. On Thursday, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) held a press conference calling for an end to the shutdown.
The shutdown mess has also hurt the GOP prospects for the 2014 midterm elections: voters say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress to a Republican one by 47 percent to 39 percent, an eight point advantage for the Democrats.
[...] conservative opinion leaders will (probably) freak out about these polls and the GOP will (probably) more or less back down and by 2014 we'll (probably) be back to normal where all the people who think abortion should be illegal vote Republican and all the people who think it should be legal vote Democratic.Probably.But today that's not what's happening. Today what's happening is the GOP is doing things that are a bit outside the grid of ordinary politics and its moving the needle in a big way. The political system has a lot of self-correcting elements and strong incentives for Republicans not to persist in this course and then for the ~50% of people who basically agree with Republicans about public policy to forgive and forget. But that happens precisely because people don't dismiss these event-driven polling spikes as irrelevant. They adjust.