Polls give both sides ammunition in shutdown fight
September 18th, 2013
02:45 PM ET
10 months ago

Polls give both sides ammunition in shutdown fight

Washington (CNN) - With the clock ticking down toward a possible government shutdown over a bitter partisan battle over the new health care law, both sides appear to be digging in.

In this dangerous game of political chicken, public opinion could be crucial, and right now polls suggest both the White House and congressional Republicans have numbers on their side to bolster their arguments–while more Americans would blame a shutdown and its consequences on Republicans, the president's Affordable Care Act–better known as Obamacare–is becoming less popular.

Some conservative lawmakers, backed by tea party and other grassroots conservative groups, are using the 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.

House Speaker John Boehner and fellow House Republican leaders unveiled a new plan on Wednesday that would tie a vote to defund Obamacare to a vote to temporarily continue to fund the government.

"We're going to continue to do everything we can to repeal the president's failed health care law," Boehner said.

The budget battle comes as the White House and congressional Republicans also appear to be headed towards a showdown over raising the nation's $16.7 trillion debt limit, which the country could hit sometime between mid-October and early November. If conservatives fail to defund Obamacare in budget negotiations, the debt ceiling talks would provide them a second opportunity.

President Barack Obama blamed an "ideological faction" of the GOP for the "ideological fight." Obama told some 100 CEO's at a gathering Wednesday that while he's open to negotiating on the budget, "what I will not do is to create a habit, a pattern, whereby the full faith and credit of the United States ends up being a bargaining chip to set policy.It's irresponsible."

The fiscal fight is beginning to register with Americans. According to a CNN/ORC International poll conducted earlier this month, 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 who would get the blame?

Only a third would consider the president responsible for a shutdown, with 51% pointing a finger at Republicans in Congress, up from 40% who felt that way in March, the last time both sides were at loggerheads.

"The difference between March and September is due to independents," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In the spring, only 36% of independents said the congressional Republicans would be responsible for a shutdown, while 40% felt that way about President Obama. Now, 53% of independents point the finger at the GOP and only a third say that Obama would be primarily responsible for a shutdown."

It's a similar story with the fight over extending the nation's borrowing limit.

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.

And while a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds the country divided over whether the president or congressional Republicans are more trusted to handle budget issues. More people say that Republicans rather than the president and his administration are doing too little to compromise.

While polling appears to favor the White House, new numbers also suggest that the 2010 health care law is dropping in popularity.

In January 51% of those polled by CNN/ORC 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. "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."

Other new surveys indicate that many Americans don't think the new law will benefit them. Only 12% of those questioned in a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted earlier this month said the measure would positively impact them, with three in ten saying there would be a negative impact and more than half saying the law wouldn't make much of an impact. A USA Today/Pew Research Center survey conducted at the same time had similar results.

And only a minority in both surveys said they had a good understanding of the law.

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    And it makes you wonder why other nations are skeptical of what the US can and cannot do. Now, if we were dropping bombs in Syria, per the McCain Doctrine, would we still be on the brink of shutting down the government? Sure, you betcha. The GOP would quickly exempt the militiary, citing national security concerns yakkity-yak.

    September 18, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. Joan

    Hopefully President Obama calls Boehner and the Republicans bluff. Obama Care (Romney Care) has passed the Congress and Senate, was declared legal by the Supreme Court and has weathered over thirty attempts by the Republicans to overthrow it. What part of losing the battle don't they understand? The irony is that a lot of the ideas in the law are Republican ideas, it is almost exactly like Romney Care and the red states that seem the most against it are the states that need the most government assistance. They want to bite the hand that feeds them. Call their bluff, let them shut down the government and pay the price at the next election.

    September 18, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    Some people will believe ANYTHING that is said on Fox. People use your brains. If the ACA were bad why would the GOP/Tea Party spend millions to tell you this??? Wouldn't it eventually become obvious?? We have billionaires spending millions to keep the less fortunate from having health care. This is amazing. The GOP has done absolutely NOTHING since 2010 except lie, obstruct and filibuster. Of course people are starting to believe their lies. If you repeat a lie often and loud enough, people will believe it. Just take the idiots that still swear up and down that the POTUS was born in Kenya and his certificate of live birth is a phony.

    September 18, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. ED1

    If we have to shut down the government from continued overspending the shut them down.

    What will it take for the overspending to stop Obama has the same old story call his bluff he has nothing to lose.

    September 18, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. TONE

    This writer is lying come on cnn give it up.

    September 18, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. kirk

    Its dropping in popularity because the insurance corps are threatening to Increase the costs by 40-50%.but they understand that they can get people to believe their lies . When they are proven to have lied in every other issue I don't even listen .they have not fought for one thing to help, but now they are telling you it's bad and that's why they are fighting so hard, their fighting for you, not the big insurance companies right? Fat chance

    September 18, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. rs

    Question:
    At any time in American history did one party threaten to crash the economy so that they could disenfranchise people's access to some basic human service?

    Really, why should the President give in to these crackpots? They obvioulsy have no solution of their own, and based on their "ideology" would likely use the same tactic over and over on Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Social Security, and anything else that doesn't fit their narrow, radical litmus test for taking America down the road to plutocracy.

    The GOP needs to know this clearly and succinctly: As a nation, we do not negotiate with terrorists. Threatening to disrupt government services over your bizarre policies and ideas is terrorism. Get it?

    September 18, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Anyone else getting tired? I know I am. I fear that all the hard work our family has put in to get back to where we were in 2008 is threatened.

    I have healthcare, I am not in any way significantly impacted by obamacare. What is going to hurt my family is watching our already hurt 401k go down in value when the stock market takes a hit when the government shuts down. What is going to hurt is the cost of getting a credit line to repaint the house because the nations credit rating is going to take a hit if we default and rates go up across the country.

    We pay our congressmen a lot of money to do their jobs ( I have heard around $174k per year). Where I come from if you get paid that much money you better be doing a very good job and working your butt off. I really do not care how they get the job done, I am tired of the excuses, the lame 'the other guy won't compromise' argument. Just get the job done and quit screwing with our financial futures to gain imaginary political points in what has become a painfully childish game. Do the backroom deals, kiss each others butts, get drunk together, stay up late, work an extra day or two, just get the job done. I really do not care how, just do it.

    My frustration is that I only get to vote on one representative, and two senators.

    September 18, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. rs

    ED1

    If we have to shut down the government from continued overspending the shut them down.

    What will it take for the overspending to stop Obama has the same old story call his bluff he has nothing to lose.
    _________________________
    Two points- The GOP controlled House is yet to produce a budget, and in case you haven't noticed, the deficit is down by 50%.

    Go ahead, shut it down. Your party will be out of office for a decade, or more.

    September 18, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. sonny chapman

    Hey Repubs.; you don't like Obamacare ? Campaign against it in 2014 & 2016. You lost in 2012. Try again. But don't burn everything down because you can't win. Oh, in 2014 & 2016 don't forget to tell the people what you propose to replace Obamacare. P.S.-you know that after 2014, when Obamacare really sets in, the people will not stand for repeal, UNLESS, you really have something to offer in its' place.

    September 18, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. TONE

    Every one of you right wing nut jobs who claim to you know your party is right about shutting the government down, tell me what are your party's alternative to the ACA? people don't be stupid you cannot support a party that cannot come up with a solution to counter what they are against.Does that make sense? last time i checked the only solution the gop has for everything is no, nada, nothing, zilch.

    September 18, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. just asking

    Obama is a failed leader by his own definition. The deficit has not been cut in half. Another lie told to the American people. He has ZERO credibility when it comes to this issue. Obama talks about the buck stopping at the top, yet refuses to take responsibilty for anything, except the accomplishments of others. After 5 years of Obama lies and deceit, people are starting to wake up and see the real Obama and the real Democrats.

    ---–

    The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

    ~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006.

    September 18, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The Wall Street masters of the Guns Over People tea potty are hard at work right now.Count on that.

    September 18, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. Tom

    @rs
    You are remarkable. You tout the deficit being cut yet the only reason it is down is due to the sequester.

    September 18, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. Donna

    In January 51% of those polled by CNN/ORC 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.
    --

    Let's see... even unions saying it will destroy them and the middle class. The head of the IRS saying he doesn't want it to replace his healthcare. Businesses being given a by for one year (to help the Democrats in the 2014 election). And Congress exempting themselves and their workers from Obamacare. And then there are the thousands of waivers that have bene granted, the parts that have been deemed impossible to do, and on and on and on.

    And then the law motivates businesses to reduce peoples hours to part time status to avoid massive Obamacare costs! Oh yeah! THAT'S a real good thing for job creation and peoples standard of living.

    Well, now people have read the 2,400 pages of the law and the 20,000 pages of new rules and regulation it has spawned and they have arrived at the same conclusion as the unions and Max Baucas (one of Obamacare's creators), Obamacare is a train wreck. And the American people don't want to risk their healthcare system in a train wreck created by leftists Democrats and a clueless president.

    September 18, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. Name

    Folks, this is what happens when you do not participate in voting. In 2010 midterm elections only 35 percent of registered voters voted. Everyone else could not be bother. Now we suffering from those decisions. Better vote in 2014 or it will get worse. VOTE!!!

    September 18, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    More false equivalence manufacture from CNN. Yawn.

    "the president's Affordable Care Act–better known as Obamacare–is becoming less popular."

    Really REALLY hard to make that argument in light of 2 facts:

    1. Polls just showed that Republicans have higher support for the Affordable Care Act than they do for Obamacare, which indicates they haven't the slightest clue what they're freekin talking about and, apparently, think they are two different things; and

    2. The MSM wrote off any responsibility for help un-misinform the public in response to the GOP/Teatrolls' lying and demagoguery and polls/surveys show that there are persistent and increasing percentages of people who believe all sorts of completely and utterly untrue, debunked and disproven garbage about the ACA, i.e., they oppose something other than what the ACA actually is, which is to say you can't really know if they oppose the actual ACA.

    September 18, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    kirk

    Its dropping in popularity because the insurance corps are threatening to Increase the costs by 40-50%.but they understand that they can get people to believe their lies . When they are proven to have lied in every other issue I don't even listen .they have not fought for one thing to help, but now they are telling you it's bad and that's why they are fighting so hard, their fighting for you, not the big insurance companies right? Fat chance
    ------------------–
    Rates will rise as much as 50%. That's big lie #2 that the right wing spreads about the ACA, ri8ght behind death panels that I debunked earlier today. The law sets a calculated limit on how high insurers can raise rates annually, around 15%. If rates exceed the limits then the company must justify the increase to the government.

    When the act was passed in 2010, California Blue Cross tried to immediately raise rates by as much as 45%. They were sued and could not justify the huge increase. Their proposed rate increase was dropped to around 10%, which is still high.

    Some studies claim that companies will charge rates nearly double of what they currently charge. That may very well be true, but anyone using such a plan is getting very little for what they're paying for. In other words, they're getting ripped off, paying high deductibles, and many common problems that are not covered at all.

    September 18, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. Wake up People!

    And I thought I would be the perfect mother prior to having kids. Then reality set in and I realized NO ONE is perfect, just.

    I'm sure President Obama had HUGE plans, however I don't think even he knew how traitorous the GOP would become. No team can win when half the players are trying to throw the game.

    September 18, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "What is going to hurt my family is watching our already hurt 401k go down in value when the stock market takes a hit when the government shuts down. What is going to hurt is the cost of getting a credit line to repaint the house because the nations credit rating is going to take a hit if we default and rates go up across the country. "

    You need to learn to accept the punishment the GOP/Teatrolls are meting out to the people of Amurika for us allowing a black Dem to become POTUS. Their message is clear: "We will hurt you if you don't just let us have 100% control, so you might as well let us have 100% control."

    September 18, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "the lame 'the other guy won't compromise' argument"

    How is that argument lame when one side is literally saying "you either give us what we want or we shut the gov't down and default the nation on its debts"? Please, do tell.

    September 18, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    -just asking

    Obama is a failed leader by his own definition. The deficit has not been cut in half. Another lie told to the American people. He has ZERO credibility when it comes to this issue. Obama talks about the buck stopping at the top, yet refuses to take responsibilty for anything, except the accomplishments of others. After 5 years of Obama lies and deceit, people are starting to wake up and see the real Obama and the real Democrats.

    -–

    The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

    ~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006.
    ********************
    What an assinine comment, even by your low standards. Do you seriously think that the GOP would ever let Obama make a significant cut in the debt while there was a way to destroy him politically? Their whole game has been to not let Obama succeed. To parphrase Rush, they want him to fail at everything, so they are going to obstruct everything he does, even when he embraces programs the GOP used to champion, like the Individual Mandate. What people are waking up to are the lies and deceptions the GOP has perpetrated since 2010. Laserlike focus on jobs? Debt reduction? Nope, but over 40 votes to repeal the ACA, endless investigations, blocking of judical appointees, attempts to undercut him abroad: the list is endless. The only deceit being successfully perpetrated is the deceit the GOP is pulling on itself. I remember how the GOP was so confident it would take the WH that it did not even plan to do any work in the lame duck session last year. Keep sipping the koolaide, but it does not change the fact that you are fiddling while Rome burns, and you are blocking the fireman from stopping the blaze you set. The GOP, social arsonists.

    September 18, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. the hippies were right

    I listen to both sides everyday. It has become very obvious that Rush and Hannity just have to say Obamacare is going to destroy America and their sheep all gasp and the hate for Obama the dictator goes off the charts. Hannity can say, even liberals are against Obamacare" and the sheep believe it, no facts or details are required. You can give these sheep information on where to go to get the facts and they will not do it! They aren't concerned about the truth. They enjoy hating Obama and liberals. Over the past two years I have asked at least 20 people who are against Obamacare, to tell me 3 aspects of the bill. To date not one has been able to do it. They can't name three things that make this law SO BAD. The majority of them even admit they don't need to know the details, that's why they listen to Fox. Fox tells them everything they need to know. So about half of or population are just stupid sheep who when asked a poll question, just blurt out what they've heard. I can't wait to see how many of them next year tell their insurance provider, "please don't worry about covering my pre existing condition, I'll just pay out of pocket for that". They are all brainless hypocrits!

    September 18, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. kirk

    Koolaid good, dems bad! I do.t think it would matter what side I'm on, I'm pretty sure using peoples savings and retirement vessel as leverage to overturn a law would drive me away from them. I've not seen the gop fight for me.if nothing else it should be crystal clear who the gop is working for. Big oil, and big money.

    September 18, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    just asking

    Obama is a failed leader by his own definition. The deficit has not been cut in half. ... quote by Barack Obama.
    -------------------–
    You ignore the facts. In 2006, Obama was speaking about the annual deficit that had went from a $300 billion surplus to a projected $500 billion deficit for the coming year, FY06-07. He was being critical of increasing annual deficits. Annual deficits have decreased every year since Barack Obama was sworn in, by more than one half.

    "Nice try, but we gotcha."

    September 18, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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