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. Jrad

    Obama! Everything that is wrong with the world is Obama's fault. If it wasn't for him, we'd be living in a futuristic utopia where disease and death would be eliminated.

    But NOOOO, Obama had to screw everything up!

    September 11, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Informed

    Has anyone on the right even READ the Affordable Care Act? I have – and here are some things that the ignorant, propaganda victims are apparently too dense to understand: 1. Those health care exchanges are a place where insurance providers post their rates so that consumers can compare prices – sounds like capitalism to me. 2. The idea for Obamacare came from the Heritage Foundation as an alternative to Clinton Health Care Reform – in other words, it is a free market system that emphasizes personal responsibility – CONSERVATIVE lines. 3. There is no government health care bureaucracy – all health care is managed by private insurers (including those eligible for Medicaid). 4. It covers pre-existing conditions AND preventative care (in case you aren't aware, preventative care coverage saves health care costs). 5. Premiums have increased for the last 48 years at a rate equal to or exceeding the rates expected under Obamacare – in some states, though, it's lower. The states who refused the Medicai subsidies will have higher rates, for the same reason they have higher rates now: THEY SUBSIDIZE THE UNINSURED (insurance, health care costs, state and local taxes). Conservatives whine about the length of the bill – I guess they are too illiterate to read it – hardly surprising for a group that gets lead around by the most base, stupid propaganda ever invented. What suckers.

    September 11, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. seanster5977

    So the sequester will devastate the country. Just another Obama lie. And for the first time in over 5 years we have not added to the debt over that period of time. Stopping Obama and the democrats is always a good idea if you don't hate America. But liberals will defend his administration to OUR very last dollar.

    September 11, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Shelia

    There is nothing to lie about Obama Care is exactly what it is pure frailer and rush hastily. Maybe America would be better off if Putin put together our health care.

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

    Who do you think two non funded wars, gop as always.

    September 11, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. Fields

    Why should anyone receive blame? Perhaps a shutdown of our bloated, inefficient, irresponsible federal overlords is a good thing.

    September 11, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  7. 70%H2O

    I think a great CNN poll question should be if this is Obama's only legacy 10 years from now, will that be a good thing?

    September 11, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. Fred

    Hey CNN, (CNN = Create News Now)

    How many did you poll that didn't have insurance? Why isn't that in your brilliant reporting? As usual, an amateur job by CNN.

    September 11, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  9. AT

    They are ALL to blame. Obama, R's, D's.
    None of them can stand in front of Americans and put out any legitimate reasoning why it's not their fault.

    September 11, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  10. NeedNewGov

    Face it. Most Americans have no clue what's in the Affordable Care Act. How can anyone vote one way or the other without the knowledge of exactly what it is. I believe that our government should be forced to use ACA. Perhaps then they might make it what it really should be.

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

    Gop is to blame.

    September 11, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Shelia

    There is nothing to lie about Obama Care is exactly what it is pure failure and rushed hastily. Maybe, America would be better off if Putin put together our health care.

    September 11, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. WildMontana

    The problem with our healthcare system is that it's controlled and run by for-profit companies: health insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, etc. Until we remove the healthcare system from their control or require them to be nonprofit, we are going to be at their mercy.

    September 11, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. Steve

    I would certainly like to know how they pick the people involved in these polls. Seems they get just the answers they are looking for when they want to write a story to make things appear the way they want. Hmmmm.

    September 11, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  15. Common Sense

    The cost of health care is the issue. The US pays more for health care than any other country. What needs to be done is lower the massive profits of the drug companies, insurance companies and the pay of administrators and doctors. We are way out of line in the world. If we are the most expensive we should be ranked number one, but we are ranked around 28th in the world in patient care.

    September 11, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. BO

    Time for more sequestration.

    September 11, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. manyote

    The GOtPers of course. They are the ones that don't get it that Obamacare is the law of the land as approved by the SCOTUS. Especially that Joseph McCarthy reincarnate Ted Cruz, a Canuban, at that.

    September 11, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. will never vote Republician again

    I can't wait until Oct 1. My husband and I are self employed and our health ins. in $700 a month! Not affordable.
    My husband had cancer 5 years ago and we have been tethered to Blue Cross and their high rates! Now we will be able to choose! Thank you Pres. Obama!

    September 11, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. Big_D

    They call it Obama Care but as I recall without the GOP voting in a bloc like communists and Lieberman trying to pork it we would have a public option. Yes Obama Care started with a public option this is Lieberman Care.

    September 11, 2013 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. Jerry Okamura

    Why do we blame people who are trying to solve a problem?

    September 11, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. john

    Republicans, all they say is NO to everything, who else would it be?

    September 11, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. srcactus

    When you are spending other peoples money; Ya better spend it wisely! A lesson seldom learned by seasoned politicians.

    September 11, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. HenryMiller

    100% of the blame should go to the incompetent klutz who thinks money grows on tress—or, at least, can be printed up in billion-dollar increments whenever he feels like wasting more of it—and has made the US even more of an international joke.

    September 11, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. MIchael in Michigan

    No President, of either party, should ever have to negotiate in order to have Congress raise the debt ceiling. Congress has already authorized the spending of the monies they approved in the legislation they passed. Failure to raise the debt ceiling in order to pay these bills is the same as an individual charging purchases on a credit card and then not paying the bill. If Congress does not want to pay the bill, then expenditures should not be authoriazed in the first place.

    September 11, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. www.twitter.com/hlmelsaid

    The harder part.

    September 11, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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