CNN Poll: Most say govt. shutdown bad; Tea Party disagrees
March 15th, 2011
02:49 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: Most say govt. shutdown bad; Tea Party disagrees

Washington (CNN) - Most Americans say that a federal government shutdown would be bad for the country, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey also indicates that Democrats and Republicans don't see eye to eye on the issue, and self-described Tea Party movement supporters say such a shutdown, even for a long period of time, would be a good thing. The poll's Tuesday release came just before the House of Representatives voted to continue funding the federal government for three weeks, a major step towards temporarily avoiding a possible government shutdown.

Full results (pdf)

Nearly six in ten people questioned in the poll say that it would be a bad thing for the government to shut down for a few days because Congress did not pass a new spending bill, with 36 percent saying it would be a good thing for the country. And if a government shutdown lasted a few weeks, that figure would rise to 73 percent.

"But Republicans think a shut down that lasts a few days would be a good thing. And a majority of Tea Party supporters approve of a shutdown even if it lasts several weeks," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That puts pressure on House Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders to take a step which might hurt their standing with independents as well as some Republicans."

The survey indicates wide partisan differences on the issue, with only 21 percent of Democrats saying a shutdown for a few days would be a good thing. That figure rises to 35 percent for independent voters, 53 percent for Republicans, and 62 percent for Tea Party supporters.

What about a government shutdown for a few weeks?

Nine percent of Democrats, 26 percent of independents, 39 percent of Republicans, and 52 percent of Tea Party supporters say a shutdown for a few weeks would be good for the country.

The Senate is expected to follow the House in passing another three week extension in government funding, which would give Congress until April 8 to either reach a deal for the rest of the 2011 fiscal year, which ends September 30, or pass another extension to avoid a federal government shutdown.

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders all say that no one wants a shutdown, but the parties remain far apart on how to approach both the immediate need to authorize government spending for the next six months and the long-term need for budget reforms that reduce the deficit and national debt.

Before the vote Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, predicted that the budget extension would pass in his chamber, but he did acknowledge mounting opposition from conservative Republicans.

Some leading national Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations have come in recent days in opposition to the budget extension, calling for increased budget cuts and urging GOP lawmakers not to compromise with Democrats. A growing number of conservative House and Senate Republicans, many elected with support from Tea Party activists, have said over the past few days that they will vote against the bill.

If a government shutdown does occur, who would be held responsible?

The survey indicates that 46 percent of the public thinks the Republicans in Congress would be more responsible for the shutdown than President Barack Obama, with 37 percent holding Obama more responsible. But by a 47 to 43 percent margin, Americans say they prefer the GOP's approach to the budget over the president's budget policies.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted March 11-13, with 1,023 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Poll
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. diridi

    in a simple truth, GOP and Tea Party is bunch of brainless idiots....."Brainless Idiots".

    March 15, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. AEK

    The clear message to the folks who were elected in November? It is VERY easy to criticize the government but VERY difficult to actually govern. That's gotta hurt!

    March 15, 2011 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Big_D

    We never had these types of problems before Reagan cut the taxes on the rich 70%. It is acceptable for the top 10% to pay 90% of taxes becaue they earn 90% of all income. What is sick is we have unending problems and a middle class that is paying 40% of all taxes with only 10% of all income.

    March 15, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. FM

    With a shaky economy, how can anyone think of a shutdown!!!!

    March 15, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Big_D

    The Tea Party doesn't hate America they just want to dissolve it. How they call themselves patriots while cutting the legs from under our country is sick.

    March 15, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. Al

    This report is as schizophrenic as the republican party.

    The tea party favoring a government shutdown shows their utter ignorance, and contempt for america.

    March 15, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. leah

    these people are idiot

    March 15, 2011 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Steve

    "But Republicans think a shut down that lasts a few days would be a good thing. And a majority of Tea Party supporters approve of a shutdown even if it lasts several weeks,"

    These people are prime candates for Darwin Awards.

    March 15, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. Rick Ralleyoop

    Tea Party movement supporters think that an extended government shutdown would be good? Do these people even have a brain? Good grief..

    March 15, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Paul

    If the government shuts down would any of the following occur: 1. Federal prisoners released 2. no passports 3. no construction or fixing of Federal highways, 4. no social security checks, 5. no medicare 6. stop the wars because we can't pay the troups 6. closing the departments that make sure our water, food and air are clean, 7. no more federal prosecutions since the courts would be closed so criminals can not be punished. 8. no depotation of immigrants. 9. no investigation of Federal crimes by the FBI, Federal Marshals or any other Federal law enforcement, 10. no regulation of power plants including nuclear plants. 11. no coast Guard to enforce law or keep the peace, 12. no army to protect us from invasion. 13. no visits to national parks 14. no more printing of money, How long would it be before all these services would be cut back or stopped? Tea baggers believe in limited government as found during the days of Washington and Jefferson. However, the world has grown and our government has to respond to today's problems. The good old days of the founders are gone forever.

    March 15, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. we are watching

    umm, OGP – where are those jobs bills?

    March 15, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Pretzel Logic

    That's because the Tea Party is made up of idiots.

    March 15, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. government shutdown, please.

    It would be nice if democrats would work with republicans and trim some of the fat in government spending. If it can't happen, then I don't mind shutting down non-essential government entities and saving that money for something else.

    I wish they could turn off Obama. He's being paid to much for all the problems that he's causing our nation.

    March 15, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "CNN Poll: Most say govt. shutdown bad; Tea Party disagrees "

    Yeah, well, the Teatards aren't "most" people...they're just a tiny clowcar full of imbeciles who either (1) fell hook line and sinker for the ideological astroturf games of corporate America led by the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch or (2) know exactly what a big lying tapdancing farce they are, but are getting paid a lot of money to keep up the clown act. Everyone with a brain in their head knows this. The "news" media is just selling us their alleged legitimacy because it makes for easily sensationalized controversy to grab up market sdhare and increase ad revenue. In other words, CNN and the rest have a direct pecuniary interest in pulling the astroturf over your eyes. Viv la BS.

    March 15, 2011 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. Steve, New York City

    A long shut-down would be a good thing? How does that work? There is a difference between trying to fix government and "hating government." While I also think that many in congress (in BOTH parties) are useless, I also think that it would be nice if polls like this could exclude any closet Timothy McVeighs.

    March 15, 2011 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. LeftCoastMike

    The fact is that these tea bagger traitors want the government shutdown so everyone else can become as angry as they are. They are a loud-mouthed, miniscuke minority of ultra-right wing racists terrorizing gutless cowards in the repub,ican party. Who gives a damn what they want? Perhaps it would also be a great idea to teel the goverenment of Japan to shut down right now too because there's too much goverenment everywhere. These tea bagger traiors are heartless, selfish slobs. If the government shuts down, they will pay the consequences and sop will the republican party for being just as stupid as it was in 1995.

    March 15, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. Dave

    Christmas is going to come early in totally the wrong way to the republicans and the tea party if they think that a government shutdown of a few weeks (or even a few days) is acceptable to the american public. The american public, who has been clamoring for politicians who compromise and politicians who work on jobs and the economy, will be like wolves on a disabled elk (the elk being the tea party and republicans) if they even sense that these two groups are not playing well with others.

    March 15, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. mcoleman

    I no longer care about any of these polls, it is becoming increasingly clear this country is made up of a bunch of dummies that don't bother to learn about the issues before they stake out positions or vote.

    The dumbing down of america is in full swing!

    March 15, 2011 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. MikeyModerate

    What I don't understand about people who align themselves with the tea party, is that the folks so determined to have smaller government (most of whom come from red states) belong to states that receive the most federal spending. The red states 'generally' are the welfare states. Meaning these are the states that receive more money from the federal government than those states send while the blue states are the exact opposite. Very interesting ...

    March 15, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. JRH

    Did we need *more* proof of how utterly clueless and out of touch the "tea party" (sorry, I refuse to capitalize it) whack jobs are? Do they have the faintest clue how expensive it will be to "shut down" the government? The answer to that question is 'no', because they can't see (or think) past the end of their noses. Noses that I'd love to punch, frankly.

    March 15, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. emmy skadittle

    so when nobody gets their refund check, we will all be happy with that?

    March 15, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. rs

    Yes, but the Tea Party is nuts!

    March 15, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. fayse

    Some how the math dosen't work for me. If 73% feel that a Government shut down would be bad for the Country then how could 36% Tea Party be possible. Unless I have missed something, if 73 % think it would be a bad thing, then that leaves 27% that think it is a good thing. How is it that the GOP /TP believe that they are a majority????

    March 15, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  24. DemoCommunists for a Better Way - Bankruptcy

    Most Americans say that a federal government shutdown would be bad for the country, according to a new national poll.
    That's because most Americans don't understand that everything doesn't shutdown and that this government is living WAY BEYOND ITS MEANS. Democrats have spun their endless lies about people starving, Grandma going without her SS check and the world coming to an end.

    We need to shut it down if for nothing else a practice run of when this country declares bankruptcy and our government and money goes down the toilet. The unions here are already taking their queues from the unions in Greece and will likely cause trouble here as well. Sorry people... the long, long gravy train has reached the end of the tracks and the end of the tracks has left us on the edge of the fiscal abyss.

    March 15, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. Scott

    I see this addmin... More like the cintons addmin.... Where obama wins in 2012!!!!

    March 15, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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