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. Norma Vessels

    I don't agree with mrkhrrs, though. Why? Because what he's saying is nit picking with half truths about a good thing for all of us. So you have to shuck the corn, so there is silk that has to be removed, so one has to trim the cob it to fit the pot ... so what. Eat the corn, when it's done .. it will be good for you.

    September 11, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. wildturnip

    "Support" depends entirely on how you ask the questions. By the way, what WAS the wording of the questions? Way to go, CNN, with another content-free article. The GOP has sought to obfuscate, misinform and misrepresent Obamacare. Other polls have shown that a shockingly high percentage of the public doesn't even know it is law let alone understands its components. The best way to conduct an approve/not approve poll is to explain a specific feature and ask if that is something the interviewee supports. For example, "the programme allows children to stay on their parents health plan until they are 26. Do you support this or oppose this?" There, that wasn't so hard, was it?

    September 11, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. JohnE

    And if you ask people about the contents of the bill you get different numbers where people are very much positive. So what does that mean? It means the GOP has convinced the public that Obamacare is negative without attacking any of its core tenets that people like. About the only thing they mention is the mandatory aspect, but this is reflected in Romneycare as well as originally having come from the conservative Heritage Foundation.

    September 11, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. jack

    fund the government NOT obamacare. the fools in this administration and the people who voted for him are clueless, the man is a fool... nothing more than a puppet. if this heathcare bill is sooooo great, why are so many companies asking for exemptions ? why aren't congressmen and senators tied into it as well ? why do the unions want exemptions ? if it is so great wouldn't you think the exact opposite would be happening ???? why have some people aready ( with it not being fully implemented yet ) have some peoples health cost gone up as much as 60 percent ? these are alot of questions that really should be addressed so us stupid folks can make sense of it all and if no explanation can be offered and you still want obamacare YOU truely are a fool.

    September 11, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Realist

    You bunch of Liberal whacks can't even balance your check book!! Ha! Keep backing raising the debt ceiling, don't you get it there is no money!!! It's gone Obama spent it and maxed our credit we are toast!!

    September 11, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Pinewalker

    Norma Vessels you need to get a reality check.....people are hearing from their own HR depts what a nightmare this piece of act is, I personally haven't even heard anything from Republicans on this bill.

    September 11, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. Dos a Cero

    Is there any way we can actually just go through with it and completely shut down the circus that is our government? Liberals blame the GOP, the GOP blames the Liberals and the reality is, IT'S BOTH OF THEIR FAULTS. The only difference? The GOP governs based on prayers and the Liberals govern based on "best case scenarios with no actual data to back up their hopes." Ah...there is no difference.

    You can only get change through ACTUAL change. Democrats and Republicans both suck and need to be shown the door.

    September 11, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. lynn

    Of course the Party of Mean will shut down the gov. That's easier for them to swallow than admit Romney had the same health care program in MA, but they won't allow Obama to win a single victory. Similar fright tactics were used when Medicare was set-up, now ask any senior of they could live without it.

    September 11, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. Nogimus Prime

    I talked with an insurance agent the other day, who also spent 9 years in the NSA beginning a few days after 9/11, and he said he's read a big chunk of the new laws pertaining to the Affordable Health Care Act and doesn't really understand it. He's a branch manager at an insurance firm, ex-Air Force, Arabic Linguist Specialist, ex-NSA. Not a dumb guy by any measure. Probably smarter than half of us commenting on here. Half of Congress didn't even read the full bill before passing it, and I doubt many of them have even yet. And yet it seems they knew enough to know that they didn't want it applying to them and so exempted themselves from it. So for those who want to spout party lines about how great it's gonna be, and how bad the GOP is for opposing it, and so on so forth. Doubt you've read anything in the bill, just a bunch of news and so you're just as uninformed as the guy you're disputing. The only difference is that you're too blinded by your party to see the obvious: they don't want any part of it themselves. Get it?

    September 11, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. mason3735

    CNN is becoming another fox news...I am glad to have health care. I guess I would be apart of the 39% but of course no one called me

    September 11, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. I'mvotingforHillary

    If we actually had a decent Congress that wasn't heck bent on being as racist as possible and actually worked with President Obama then things would be better in this country. If the GOP regains control of the WH in 2016, I hope the Dems screw their president over as much as they have screwed over Obama.

    September 11, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. PJ

    If Obamacare turns out as good as Romneycare then we will all benefit. My healthcare insurance was cut by 50% when I used the Healthcare Connector here in Massachusetts. I found a plan suitable for my needs at a reasonable cost and didn't have to deal with pre-existing conditions.

    September 11, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. jim

    The media would blame the Republicans, and therefore our low-information populace would, too.

    But it doesn't matter, because the GOP is not going to shut down the government. It's just scare/bias from CNN as usual.

    September 11, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Barry

    I ask this in all seriousness. Other than (1) the military (which is a big other admittedly), (2) air traffic controllers (which could easily be privatized), and (3) infrastructure funding, what does the federal government provide us which we could not do without indefinitely? If the FBI were abolished entirely I don't think the average citizen would ever suffer any detrimental consequences. Same with a zillion other letter agencies. I think an extended government shutdown would show us just how wasteful so much of our government spending is.

    September 11, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Texas Anne

    "People who project negativity typically have low self-esteem. They feel badly about themselves, and their negativity is simply a reflection of those feelings."
    Hendrie Weisinger, The Power of Positive Criticism

    September 11, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. QS

    One thing we can say with complete certainty is that conservatives are masters of spin and of manipulating the easily-manipulated....which is the only way they can ever remain in power to begin with – fear tactics, half-truths and outright lies.

    Can we please, please just stop giving these people a seat at the table and stop allowing any of their psychotic ideas to even be considered as part of a civil society?

    September 11, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    October 1, 2013 – The end of the world according to the Teatroll Calendar. And, just like that silliness with the Mayans and Y2K and nuclear winter in July and all the rest, everyone who listens to such mindless drivel will be standing around the next day going "huh, world's still here, but I'm still stupid...I better find an excuse."

    September 11, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. Chris

    Did it really take American's this long to figure out that ObamaCare was not a good thing?

    September 11, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Logic N LA

    Just once, I would like to see a poll of what they oppose about Obamacare. Most people are clueless about the law.
    Then I would like to know how many polled either already have company, government, or union coverage.
    This is a country that said by 23% that Romney killed Bin Laden. you're going to trust their opinion on healthcare laws?

    September 11, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Truth

    This is shocking to no one.

    September 11, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Kyle

    This again? Please let it shut down, and we won't blame anyone, we will congratulate them. Just saying.

    September 11, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Probably smarter than half of us commenting on here."

    So very VERY average? Yeah, I'll take my chances with the experts instead, kthxbai.

    September 11, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Independentvoter

    A government shut down and nobody noticed except the news media.

    September 11, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Gene

    People in the media are given too much credit. They use their opinion as fact. What ever happen to fact? We know Fox lies, but CNN is disguised and many of them are closet obstructionist. Too bad, they lie in the name of "keeping them honest."

    September 11, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  25. CRD

    How is it that almost 80% of Americans say they know little or nothing about the healthcare package, but a majority oppose it? I guess the anti propaganda wins.

    September 11, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
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