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

    My 29 year old worked for a national security company who was bought out by an even larger company 2 years ago. The new company cut their salaries and cutout their health insurance. Just yesterday I checked the California ACA. If he purchased insurance on his own it would cost app. $245.00 a month which he can't afford. If he purchase through the Exchange it will cost app. $39.00 per month. He is working and paying taxes how is this a bad thing.

    September 11, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. Dave

    Guaranteed, a government shutdown would mean a new Democratic majority in Congress.

    September 11, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. mikeymo74

    Republicans have done everything else to harm this country in the name of obstructing Obama, so what's a government shutdown to them? Their whole ideology is based on shutting down the government.

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

    Or actually trying to do the job we pay them to do.

    September 11, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Fubarack

    More people are getting screwed, while Obama's 1 percenter buddies get waivers. It's that good.

    September 11, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. t

    GOP......is an American HATE GROUP

    September 11, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. ray munholland

    guess it's time for a new book "what's wrong with american citizens?" i'm afraid this says more about the average citizen than any IQ test ever could!

    September 11, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. omeany

    Let the Government shut down proceed at the behest of the GOP. After our credit rating will take another hit and our economy plummets again the American people will finally have had enough of GOP obstructionism.

    September 11, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. kim

    so sick of the GOP clowns, of course it's their fault. the only thing they have worked at is trying to undermine this president, no matter what

    September 11, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. blakenaustin

    Congress, are you listening? Repeal this horrendous legislation! We have read it and we don't want it.

    September 11, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. DaveNYUSA

    SO, how IS that Obama vote working out for ya , folks?

    September 11, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. food

    "CNN/ORC Poll: The proportion of people saying they favor all or most of Obamacare drops to 39%, down from 51% in January" Did you also ask if they read the entire thing first since you are asking if they favor "all" or "most". I bet you didn't. So this survey is useless. Details, CNN you are supposed to ask about them.

    September 11, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. dan

    it's bush's fault as usual.

    September 11, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. Bill Harris

    Because of Affordable Health Care, insurance provider no longer does business in my home state. I have been allowed to retain it under "grandfathering." However, my rates for October went up 36%. The state's healthcare collective, which begins providing in January is more expensive than my current insurance, and I make too much to qualify for assistance. I am self-employed, make well under six figures and will soon be paying more than 750/month for a policy with a 2500 deductible and almost no coverage for preventive care. Conservative or Liberal, this plan is horrible and ought to be rescinded immediately.

    September 11, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Todd

    Pretty sure the government will have to declare bankruptcy at some point. Obamacare also comes at a bad time when people are literally fighting off debt with basic expenses, let alone that health expense. It is like the utopian dream, it is not going to happen without major troubles. Healthcare is simply too costly, and if someone wants me to have it, they can certainly foot the bill.

    September 11, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. Ivan

    Congress is to blame! Both parties and both houses, they've had all summer vacation to relax and still they don't want to work!

    September 11, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. NOYB

    100% of the blame should go to 100% of the politicians regardless of party. They are all equally guilty 100%

    September 11, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. You Betcha!

    Personally, I'm looking forward to the GOP committing political suicide by trying to hold the U.S. economy hostage to their lunatic demands again.

    September 11, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Michael

    Lol at all the libtards. Obamacare requires healthy young americans to dish out $200 a month for something they don't really want or need. And if they don't Obamacare will fail. This is just a disaster waiting to happen. Why doesn't Obama or any of our other lawmaker want Obamacare? It sucks.
    If the Democrats were right about politics Detroit should be the most successful city in the United States.
    The Libtards will continue to put their head in the sand and ignore facts.

    September 11, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. waitaminute

    CNN Poll: Who would get blamed for government shutdown? We The People with the threat of voting REPS out of office. Not one more penny for OBAMACARE. 63% people want it gone.

    September 11, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. Fubarack

    With all the tax dollars being spent to promote this failed policy, it's odd it is getting less support. Maybe people form opinions by what is happening to them, rather than following the mantra from TV propaganda..

    September 11, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. Kenman

    Wow, some real liberal loons on here so far, and THAT is why the Republicans always get more blame for EVERYTHING than Obama (where the buck supposedly stops) with the aiding and abetting of the liberal mainstream media! Pathetic! But, when liberals are willing to scream and whine and say outrageous things, like Republicans won't to poison children with dirty air and water, blah, blah, and the media never calls them on their hyperbole!

    September 11, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. jimmyva18

    You stupid Kool-Aid drinking liberals can't see it? 39%...!!! That means some of your useful idiot, Friends, too.

    September 11, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Hot Carl

    That's easy...............it's BUSH'S FAULT.

    September 11, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. norma jean

    :Obamacare" is still there and will continue to be...... but just at the moment... the problems with Syria have taken the spotlight.and require preference....
    ....

    September 11, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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