CNN Poll: Who would get blamed for government shutdown?
September 11th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
7 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. Malory Archer

    That's right CNN. Despite the "librul media's (CNN included) proclivity to create news instead of reporting it, the majority of Americans are smart enough to read between the lines.

    September 11, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Please proceed with the shutdown and default, GOPers/Teatrolls. WE. DARE. YOU.

    September 11, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Dike Matthew

    Support for the president health care bill is dropping . . .

    II just LOVE how you leave that just hanging out there . . .! you don't think it pertinent to mention that the right has spent almost half a BILLION dollars on ads in ALL media against this??

    You really think this drop is all 'organic'??

    Stop carrying water for the GOP and don't let you article be used as fodder for this asinine war against a common-sense bill that has so much more benefits to it than is being told right now!

    September 11, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Oh please do try it. The resulting mess would prove that, in spite of gerrymandering, the GOP has never deserved the public trust and will get swept out of power the following year.

    September 11, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. DJ Reality

    Please proceed with the shutdown. Then we will proceed with ending the Bush era tax cuts!!!!!

    September 11, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein

    The GOP should because they make everything seemingly hang on one thing - Obamacare. If it isn't their way, then it is the highway. That doesn't work here.

    September 11, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Jeff

    Republicans have been lying about "Obamacare" since before it even became law.

    September 11, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Steve

    Republicans hate "Obamacare" so much, they tried to replace Obama with the guy who invented it.

    For Republicans, this has never been about what's best for the country.

    It's only ever been about defeating everything that our twice elected President has put forward to move the country forward.

    September 11, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. chachabrown

    I blame the anti-islam video.

    September 11, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Woodrow

    I'm self-employed. I just got a letter stating that my high deductible plan would go from $600/mo to $1100/mo and my deductible from 10,000 to 12,400. So my coverage gets worse and my premium goes through the roof.

    We're in pretty good health. This might actually make me drop my so-called coverage all together. I'd have to pay 25K in a year (premium plus deductible) for insurance to pick up a dime! Obama's such a liar and the 'affordable care act' is a joke.

    September 11, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. Woodrow

    I'm self-employed. I just got a letter stating that my high deductible plan would go from $600/mo to $1100/mo and my deductible from 10,000 to 12,400. So my coverage gets worse and my premium goes through the roof.

    We're in pretty good health. This might actually make me drop my so-called coverage all together. I'd have to pay 25K in a year (premium plus deductible) for insurance to pick up a dime! The 'affordable care act' is a joke – as is Obama.

    September 11, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. us_1776

    OH BULLSHIP !!

    Most people have no idea how Obamacare even works because its there employer who has to figure it out.

    And for those of us who do we always vote no because Obamacare did not go far enough. We want the public option.

    .

    September 11, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. RW

    Just wait until it actually goes into effect. 39% is going to seem so high.

    September 11, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. luke,az

    The Republicans are holding up America's progress.

    September 11, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Foz-man

    Don't we get threatened with a goverment shutdown about every other month? The right wing are nothing but a bunch of spoiled children that will ruin the whole birthday party because they didn't get enough presents.

    September 11, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. ALLuh

    The Federal Government should be shut down permanently, it's there only to serve the elite and screw over the working class.

    September 11, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. Steve

    The GOP has put forward absolutely nothing to replace Obamacare.

    Because they have nothing.

    September 11, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. Gunderson

    Um Yes,
    Liberal's and Peasants will blame the Republicians. After all Nanny State think Government should supply everything. And Rich no pay Fair Share so they also to blame. Old Gunderson no understand why Business dump Health Care. That also Republician's fault?

    September 11, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. keven

    I love how no matter what the media reports, people like Archer have to complain about it. Get a life lady

    September 11, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. judith

    Most people know little about the provisions of Obamacare, but I know people who are already benefiting from it. Meanwhile, the Republicans offer nothing to improve access to healthcare or affordability. They, as usual, are the party of, for and by the rich!

    September 11, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. Hillcrester

    The GOP is heading toward self-destruction . . . fortunately.

    September 11, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Big_D

    What poll? I read every day and didn't see this poll. Was it nested in a story about Palin? I don't click on any links with the name Palin on them. Or is CNN trying Gallup's method of calling land lines so nobody under 60 participates?

    September 11, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. jim

    Really...Are we still talking about Obamacare? If wish they would put this much effort in improving it!

    September 11, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Jeb

    Republicans health care proposal to replace Obamacare:

    "If you get sick, die quick!"

    September 11, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. eric

    "According to CNN/ORC numbers released Monday, 42% of the public approves of the job Obama is doing on health care" That is a number congress couldn't reach if they started giving money to working Americans.

    September 11, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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