CNN Poll: Who would get blamed for government shutdown?
September 11th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
12 months ago

CNN Poll: Who would get blamed for government shutdown?

Washington (CNN) – With the clock ticking towards two crucial deadlines, a new national poll indicates congressional Republicans would shoulder more blame than President Barack Obama for a possible government shutdown.

But according to a CNN/ORC International survey, support for the president's health care law appears to be waning.

The poll's Wednesday release comes less than three weeks before the current measure funding the federal government expires on September 30, setting up another budget battle between congressional Republicans and the White House. That deadline comes one day before a key element in the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, takes effect. Enrollment in the health care exchanges that form the core of the new law begins on October 1.

Some conservative lawmakers, backed by some tea party and other grassroots conservative groups, are using upcoming budget battle as leverage, vowing to oppose any measure that provides funding for the federal government from including money for the health care law. A shutdown of the government would kick in if Congress doesn't hammer out a new spending plan by the beginning of next month, which is the start of the new federal budget year.

According to the poll, if a government shutdown lasted only a few days, 11% of Americans think that would cause a crisis and another 38% forecast major problems. But if a shutdown lasted a few weeks, the number who think the country would face a crisis rises from 11% to 31%, and the number who believe major problems would result increases a bit to 43%.

So whom would Americans blame if the government shutdown?

"Only a third would consider President Barack Obama responsible for a shutdown, with 51% pointing a finger at the GOP - up from 40% who felt that way earlier this year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The White House and congressional Republicans also appear to be headed towards a showdown over raising the nation's $16.7 trillion debt limit. The country could hit its debt limit sometime from mid-October to early November.

Seventeen percent of those polled say failure to extend the debt ceiling would cause a crisis, with another 45% forecasting major problems for the country. The poll indicates a quarter would blame the president if the debt ceiling were not raised, with 54% holding congressional Republicans responsible.

According to the poll, support for Obamacare appears to be dropping.

In January 51% said they favored all or most of the provisions in the new law. Now that figure is down to 39%.

Support has dropped in virtually all demographic categories, but it has fallen the farthest among two core Democratic groups - women and Americans who make less than $50,000.

"Those are also the two groups that are most likely to pay attention to health insurance issues, and possibly the ones most likely to be affected by any changes," adds Holland. "That may be particularly true for lower-income Americans who are most likely to have part-time jobs, be on Medicaid, or not currently have health insurance and thus be the first to have to navigate the new system."

"Change is often scary - even change that promises to bring long-term benefits - and it may not be surprising that Americans are getting a case of cold feet as these new policies start to kick in."

The poll's release comes after a major push the past six weeks by conservative groups to try and defund the health care law. There has also been a huge disparity over the past couple of years in ad spending over the issue, with groups opposed to Obamacare greatly outspending those in favor of the measure. The new poll suggests the negative advertising may be taking a toll. The forces opposed to the health care law have also been much more active on social media than those supportive of the law. And the one year delay in the implementation of the employer mandate, another key component of the law, which was well publicized earlier this year, may have also contributed to the loss of support.

According to CNN/ORC numbers released Monday, 42% of the public approves of the job Obama is doing on health care, with 36% giving him a thumbs up on the budget deficit. Both figures are little changed from earlier this year and both are below the president's general approval rating of 45%.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International September 6-8, with 1,022 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. RJ

    The President has said all along that the health care plan-as is-is a START (as in, we had to start somewhere). But instead of working with him to make improvements to it, the GOP has done nothing but try to throw out the whole thing! I agree it's not perfect, but at least it got us past the years of inaction that left so many with no health care. The GOP needs to work with their counterparts across the aisle to smooth over the rough edges and make it more workable for everyone.

    September 11, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. 10%

    Bush will be blamed since the liberals need a scapegoat so they can exhalt Shepherd Hillary 2016-2024. What is the matter with the Liberals proudly sporting bumper stickers that says I LOVE OBAMACARE, OBAMA BIDEN 2008, OBAMA BIDEN 2012. They wanted all the health care benefits so the rates will go down and everyone will get it. Well, it is almost time to prove all liberals wrongs: Since the socialist obamacare is taking effect my health insurance rates went up, next to prove wrong is when the media will mention what percentage still have no insurance in about a year. I will have a field day then and I will slap all sheep that wanted obamacare across their face.

    September 11, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. www.twitter.com/hlmelsaid

    Government shutdown.

    September 11, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. George

    I read the comments out here and most make me sick. First of all, not ALL "liberals" agree with this law. I'm a Democrat which, by the way, is not the same as a Liberal but how we went from Dem to Liberal only, I don't understand. As a Dem, I get the Republican side of the picture which normally stands for big business. As part of the HR department of my company, I see EXACTLY how this law works/doesn't work. The pressure and expense on the company is awful whether it's through taxes or just plain compliance requirements. For those of you out here saying "Well companies are just dumping people on to the market" you're correct.....to a degree. Fast food, yes because the turnover is tremendous. Other industries, no because they have to compete and offer something the other guy can't. For those of you who've not been involved in things like "Your current plan(s) must meet the poverty level regulations" or "Your plan(s) must meet the government's prescribed "actuarial value" or "You must test your part time people over X period to determine 'true' part time'" or "You must have on the year end W-2 the total cost your employer is spending on health care....including EAP systems" then you have no idea what this law is about or requires. Again, I'm Dem and I've been sick of this law since 2010. Oh and if you think the people who choose not to enroll in a plan under the Exchange are going to get hit...wrong! The initial hit was threatening. The new hit is pathetic. I'm not against people having coverage. I'm against this law. For those of you blathering about Medicare and how that should apply...remember you pay into that every pay period.

    September 11, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. craig

    Bush did,,,, he knew it..

    September 11, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. Ajz

    omg this stupid news keep bombarding our heads trying to instigate fear, look at this, after the Syrian drama, now we jump to a shutdown.... what a joke.

    I hope they shut EVEYTHING DOWN
    we need a RESET.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    -Albert Einstein

    This nation is insane.

    September 11, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. granny4life

    I think that the responses that are a direct reflection to fox news needs to get some education and go to fact check.com there you will get the correct answers to questions about affordable care act. If you have never been involved in the billing within the medical field you really need to get educated. You are not going to be kicked to the curb in your 60's and 70's, employers are not knocking people to part time so they don't have to pay. Folks are going to have coverage that have not had coverage. I understand that ignorance is bliss but come on folks get with the program. NO one knows what is going to be until it is up and running they can only guess and speculate. I say give it a chance...change is scary but some things really need to be changed and this is one area that really needs to change

    September 11, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. Apex301

    If a good score on a math exam were required to vote in the poll it would be more like 99% support Obamacare.

    Obamacare just unloads the hospitals so that they don't have to charge 15 bucks for an aspirin. It is an accounting fix, plain and simple. Simple minds cannot do the math that the same amount of cash is going into the system with or without it, but the insurance companies (who are behind all the negative propaganda – surprise!) will make less money on the NON SERVICE they provide.
    What other industry gets paid a guaranteed income just because they have money? NONE. Insurance is a rip-off and single payor is the real answer but the GOP thinks if they yell SOCIALIST! loud enough the they will scare all those people who can't do math enough that they will hate it. Five years from now all the GOP goobs will say Obamacare was really their idea because IT WORKS.

    September 11, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. Ajz

    omg this dumb news keep bombarding our heads trying to instigate fear, look at this, after the Syrian drama, now we jump to a shutdown, what a joke.

    I hope they shut EVEYTHING DOWN
    we need a RESET.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein

    This nation is insane

    September 11, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "Liberals in this country...please wake up and see that free has a cost associated with it. "

    Moron conservatives...please wake up and realize that your straw man arguments are incredibly stupid.

    Pssst: Nobody thinks it's "free."

    September 11, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Jason H

    Why does anyone think a Government organized Health Care System would fail .. oh wait, Medicare and Medicade ... never-mind .. and you ignorant people that want to point fingers to the GOP or the DEM.. keep in mind, they both have run up the Spending. The problem is, unintelligent people that don't understand there is very little difference in the main goal of either party.

    September 11, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. wake up

    seriously? You people spend all of your time whining about things you cannot control. IE, the government. Get over yourselves and find a solution instead of the whining. it's getting really annoying.

    September 11, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. DARNELL

    Obamacare will force America to only hire part timers. Welcome to Kenya...

    September 11, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. Belseth

    Okay so Republicans devote years of effort and virtually all their political muscle into over turning Obamacare, then what? They seem to have zero interest in fielding an option so we go back to what we had before where people are denied healthcare or they simply raise rates so sick people can't aford healthcare. That's their grand solution? Sick people die and rates continue to spiral up until no one in the middle class has healthcare and don't kid yourself, Medicare is next. They have said as much. They won't stop until Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are gone. Companies are phasing out retirements and healthcare as unions loose power so we go from the golden age when most had retirements and health care to only the rich have those things. How is this a better world they are proposing?

    September 11, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "socialist healthcare system "

    Nope. Try again. Private insurance companies competing in exchanges is the very opposite of socialism. TRY. AGAIN. MORONS.

    September 11, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  16. Josh

    The President of the United States, no matter what race he is, does not create budgets. That is up to the House. Your poll shows that 25% of the country is literally mentally retarded and does not understand their own government.

    September 11, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. Connor

    "Republicans have to shoulder the blame"? Why? Do they all have to wear red A's on their suits now? Who the f cares! Get back to work already government! Human lives are being pointlessly wasted out there.

    September 11, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "I hope they shut EVEYTHING DOWN
    we need a RESET."

    Oh? Do tell. How does a gov't shutdown result in a "reset"? Hmmm? Hint: it doesn't...it just results in a "setback."

    September 11, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. Joe Hates Government

    I see lots of lies being spewed by the terrorist leftist guerrillas on this topic.

    September 11, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. Ctrygrl

    Congress and only congress can cause a government shutdown, they hold the power of the purse. Having lived through the last exercise in stupidity foisted on the American people by the republicans I am not anxious to do it again. That one got president Clinton reelected. As for Obamacare, republicans are spending incredible amounts of money trying to scare people. Will it work perfectly, no, will it be a pain to begin with, new stuff usually is but in the long run people are going to like it a lot. Republicans know this they have said this so this last shot before people find out how good it is going to be. Republicans obviously have no ideas of their own, all they want is to say no to any idea and try to hurt as many poor and helpless people as possible.

    September 11, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. Dave

    The only ones that stand to lose with the affordable health care act are the Insurance companies. The will lose a small part of their billion dollar profits and that is the only reason the Republicans are going to such great lengths to stop it. The affordable health care act is good for the American people

    September 11, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. Severus

    Well, as of August 16, republicans have attempted 40 times to kill the AHCA at an estimated taxpayer cost of 60million. Imagine if you may if they spent that time and money instead on an approach of fixing the parts of the bill they feel is broken rather than this all or nothing deal, you know, act in the best interest of the country as a whole and not their campaign sponsors?. Actually, it would have been even better if they participated in this process in the first place befor it was voted on. It was a republican born idea initially anyways.

    September 11, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "The President of the United States, no matter what race he is, does not create budgets. That is up to the House. Your poll shows that 25% of the country is literally mentally retarded and does not understand their own government."

    That 23%-27% repeatedly and consistently shows up in poll after poll after poll after poll after poll. Then about 12 of them show up on the Capitol lawn holding misspelled signs and CNN takes off-angle photos of it and calls it a "crowd" of protesters and megaphones every idiotic drool-laden mouthfart they utter as if it's the most important thing in the world, which it is as far as CNN is concerned, because it helps manufacture a controversy narrative that's easily sensationalized to help generate ad revenue.

    September 11, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. Julie S.

    It is not true that everyone will have healthcare, it seems the working poor are still not going to be offered health care. Example: In FL for a guy only receiving 5K a year (working poor), health care will not be offered, it seems they need to stop working part time and get onto welfare and accept medicaid. This will disintegrate the working poor families helping each other. Another example Sea World (but many companies are doing this) currently people working at a part time job of 32 hours are being cut 4 hours a week. This is ~128 a month. (so they need to pick what they cannot have: a week of groceries, healthcare, transportation?). Affordable Healthcare is so inflated , examples: today the health care costs for premium ins for a guy in FL, 27 yrs old smoker is $172, running the numbers at the .gov health care site the cost for basic insurance is going up to $5,000. For a guy in Fl 31, nonsmoker currently pays $150, this is going up to $3000. So the working poor are going to be kicked in the gut again. Apparently we do not know how to help the working poor. Also companies the working poor typically go to are cutting hours to 28 again a hit on the working poor. And the working poor cannot have two part- time jobs, because these companies are not giving regular schedules and do not care about the employees, if you are not available they do not put you back on the schedule, you lose your job. They do not want to hire you if you have another job. This is leading to a very bad place quickly.

    September 11, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. Stand Up

    So, once again we have Washington in a stronghold and more of their retoric on holding the country and the government employees in a quandry, like "two year olds" throwing a temper tantrum. I am honestly can say that I am looking forward to winding down my career as a federal employee and looking forward to retirement. In the 36+ years working for the federal government we go thru this over and over again. Washington can discuss what needs to be done with the Syria situation but we cannot even get our own house in order.

    September 11, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8