CNN Poll: American divided on responsibility if govt. shuts down
March 20th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN Poll: American divided on responsibility if govt. shuts down

Washington (CNN) – With a possible federal government shutdown just one week away, a new national survey indicates that Americans say such a shutdown would be bad for the country.

And according to a CNN/ORC International poll, if a shutdown happens, the public would hold President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans equally responsible.

The current measure that funds the federal government expires March 27, and a partial government shutdown would occur if a new funding authorization isn't in place by next Thursday. The measure, called a continuing resolution, would authorize government funding for the remaining six months of the fiscal year. Members of Congress are trying this week to lock in a such a spending plan, which would also soften the blow of separate forced federal spending cuts that kicked in on March 1.

This would be the second straight month the country's faced a serious fiscal crisis, following last month's battle over the forced spending cuts, known inside the Beltway as the sequester.

Sixty-four percent of those questioned in the poll say that a government shutdown for a few days would be bad for the country. Three quarters of Democrats and a solid majority of independent voters feel this way, but Republicans are split on the question. If a government shutdown lasted for a few weeks, the percentage of Americans who say it would be bad for the country rises to 78%.

"But the difference this time is that President Obama seems much less likely to win the blame game if a shutdown occurs," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In 2011, nearly half were ready to blame the GOP if a shutdown occurred, compared to only a third who would have blamed Obama."

Now, four in ten say they would hold the GOP in Congress as more responsible for a government shutdown, with a similar amount, 38%, saying the president would be more responsible. Nearly one in five say they would point fingers at both sides.

"This may weaken the president's bargaining position in the coming days, although he remains more popular than House Speaker John Boehner," adds Holland.

Boehner, the top Republican in Congress, has a 34% favorable rating in the new poll, with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell holding a 24% favorable rating.

But it's worth noting that Democratic congressional leaders don't fare much better. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's favorable rating stands at 23% and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is at 32%, with half saying they have an unfavorable view of the top Democrat in the House.

"It's always important to remember that blame is not always a zero-sum game - there is more than enough to go around," says Holland.

Nearly three-quarters of those questioned say they are dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed.

"That's a new high for that number - a few points higher than when Gallup asked it in 2006, 2008 and 2010, and substantially higher than the 66% that Gallup found in 1973 during the depths of the Watergate crisis," adds Holland.

The survey also finds former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a 63%-33% favorable/unfavorable rating, former Sen. John Kerry, who succeeded Clinton as secretary of state at 46%-35% and nearly one in five unsure, Vice President Joe Biden at 44%-43% and 13% unsure, and House Whip Eric Cantor (the number two Republican in the chamber) at 14%-21%, with nearly two thirds unsure.

The CNN poll was conducted March 15-17 by ORC International, with 1,021 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. plain&simple

    This is Obama's last term...polls don't really matter at this point. Results will determine the future of our economic outlook. Results are in the lap of congress. They will be the ones to suffer any repercussions!!!

    March 20, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. California Conservative

    Harry "Mr. Obstructionist" Reid is the true congressional obstrutionist.

    March 20, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    And yet, CNN fails to mention that the GOP/Teatrolls in the Senate just filibustered another budget resolution and won't even let it be voted on.

    March 20, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. T

    ........Oh, come ON...........EDUCATED and unbiased voters KNOW the GOP has blocked effort after effort by the Obama administration. The GOP has, and WILL CONTINUE to lose Congressional and Senatorial seats DUE DIRECTLY TO THE GOP's OBSTRUCTION OF GOVERNANCE.
    ....
    ...........Just remember GOP, it was ...YOU.... and the T/P's that lead you that said......."MY WAY, OR HIGHWAY".

    March 20, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Interesting poll. (Well, not really)

    17% of those asked have never heard of John Boehner.
    27% of those asked have never heard of Harry Reid.

    And yet, these folks polled absolutely know what's happening politically ... and more to the point ... I should care, why? The next election isn't until 2014.

    If you ask me, three quarters of "those" Americans polled are completely turned off by politics in general, and political news coverage altogether.

    March 20, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. NFL

    How can Obama get so much share of the blame, when he's been trying to put out ideas and plans that are based on the RESULTS of the election, while the House simply puts forth the same old losing Ryan plan??

    March 20, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    These crisis are manufactured by Congress and Congress can fix them. So if a government shutdown occurs, I'm solely laying blame on Congress. Specifically republicans in the House majority. Let's not forget that they threatened to shut the government down a few years ago to keep their tax breaks for the rich. Nothing has changed with the GOP's game plan. They want to wreck the economy and lay the blame at the President's feet. If there is enough blame to go around for dysfunctional government, I'll spread some of that blame at the filibustering minority republican Senate. In the words of Reverend Al, "nice try, but we gotcha!"

    March 20, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "If you ask me, three quarters of "those" Americans polled are completely turned off by politics in general, and political news coverage altogether."

    Indeed. All to the GOp/Teatrolls' favor. Their overarching goal, of course, is to prove that gov't is broken, can never do anything correctly and shoudl be reduced to nothing more than a military the giant corporations can play with when they feel the need to snag some foreign nation's natural resources. The MSM is complicit in this plan by its very nature as having thrown all sense of journlistic integrity out the window solely to sensationalize controversies manufacturered and perpetuated by fabricating the false appearance that both parties and their arguments/policies are essentially equal. So again, we return to the "if we're going down, we're taking the rest of you with us." This kind of thing is a pyrrhic victory for the GOP/Teatrolls, but a victory nonetheless, because their only goal is to watch the world burn.

    March 20, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. freedom

    "Nearly three-quarters of those questioned say they are dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed." Proves there was fraud at the voting booths. Obama should never had been elected for a second term. He never know how to govern, and still doesn't. Absolutely if the govt. shuts down, he takes ultimate responsibilty – you can only fool the people for so long – and what goes around – comes around.

    March 20, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. Wake up People!

    I'm sure they are. Considering half of the public can't think for themselves and have to find out from Uncle Rush, or Uncle Hannity what to say. They follow Fox News blindly and facts be damned.

    Anyone with half a brain knows the republikkan party set out to destroy President Obama January 2009.

    March 20, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "How can Obama get so much share of the blame"

    keep in mind this is a CNN poll. They ranked pretty low on accuracy prior to the election and they spend all their time in a reality vacuum manufacturing false equivalencies.

    March 20, 2013 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. USA1st

    Both parties are to blame. Why? Because they have allowd themselves to be in the pockets of big business and the 1%in order to address their needs rather than the needs of the American people.

    March 20, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    "This kind of thing is a pyrrhic victory for the GOP/Teatrolls, but a victory nonetheless, because their only goal is to watch the world burn."

    I agree 100%. It's irks me to no end that those folks calling themselves responsible journalists push this crap daily. That was what I was suggesting as well. As long as we continue to allow the media to continue their finger pointing back and forth BS, I can't see where anything will change anytime soon.

    March 20, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. Tea Party Thomas

    It;s the Democrats fault they spent us into bankruptcy. Cut spending now and start with dismantling Social Security and Medicare. Socialism is just WRONG.

    March 20, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "Proves there was fraud at the voting booths. "

    Just go with a mixed series of "herps" and "derps" next time and you'll sound less ridiculous.

    March 20, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Woman In California

    And according to a CNN/ORC International poll, if a shutdown happens, the public would hold President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans equally responsible.

    --

    That depends on what "public" you asked doesn't it?

    March 20, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. Ancient Texan

    "They follow Fox News blindly..."–. Yep, if you insist on only having half of the facts, you ignore Fox.

    March 20, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Considering half of the public can't think for themselves and have to find out from Uncle Rush, or Uncle Hannity what to say."

    What is worse, do you think, Wake Up People? How proud of themselves they are for lapping up everything Rush and Company tell them, or their own willingness to come to CNN and share the useless prattle coming from the likes of Rush and Company? I would myself be embarrased to forward such hate and bigotry as Rush (and... well, you know who the gang of others are) loves to sputter as truth and respect of individual ... er ... freedom.

    March 20, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. Marie MD

    @teapartythomas, your name says it all about you, but let me explain. Your shrub #43, actually he is too middle of the road, started two wars without money but those WMDs were there (except they really weren't).
    Your tea tards are the ones who want government out of their lives but make sure they continue to receive their social security checks, medicare and medicaid.
    You wouldn't know what socialism is if it struck you in that half brain of yours! Go sit in the corner and be a good little boy. Be quiet now!

    March 20, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. don in albuquerque

    @freedom-just wondered. From reading your many hate filled posts which have yet to offer any sound solutions to anything, do you even blame Obama for the Sioux uprising that killed Custer? Seems you blame him for everything else. Did he kick your dog or something?

    March 20, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |