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

    Obama hasn't lived up to a single prediction made about it by this administration.

    It has not lowered the deficit.
    It has not decreased premiums
    it hasn't even come close to costing what they said it would.
    they couldn't even implement it on the schedule they provided

    September 11, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. liberal disease

    if they read the lawl it would be 0 approve

    September 11, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. Hot Carl

    It's Slimey Virus's fault! I mean, Miley Cyrus.

    September 11, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. don in albuquerque

    Time to force the GOTP's hand. Let them shut down the gov't and hide and watch what happens next. Time they quit lying about Obamacare, and quit spending money on useless votes to get rid of it. What are we up too now, 40 and counting? If you want to have a representative government again, get rid of the GOTP first, and lobbyist second.

    September 11, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. mannyspaz

    Maybe Putin can step in and arrange a compromise?

    September 11, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Norma Vessels

    I agree with you all .. all the money and gossip and slandering of the Health Care Bill has muddled the waters until no one is sure about it .. that's what the Republicans are counting on. But, the Health Care Bill is staying, and it will benefit so many more people by the end of next year. Just don't let the Propaganda of the far right fool you into thinking otherwise. Let them spend all their money on useless lies.

    September 11, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. bosfaninva

    Percentage of poll respondents who could explain "All or most" of Obamacare: 0.0000000000000000000000039%

    September 11, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. WaitingFor2016

    Bush's ratings went up after 911. Maybe Obama's ratings will go up after he gets that war in Syria started.

    September 11, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. DC Observer

    It is downright discouraging that since Obama came to office everything has been about who to blame for the lousy way the country is being run.

    I have always believed that it is up to the boss to take responsibility for this. Obama will be the first President in our history NEVER to have gotten a budget passed – ever – and this includes 2 years when his party controlled both House and Senate and 5 years where his party controlled the Senate - and Obama has never gotten a budget approved in the Senate and likely never will

    Obama's legacy will be the" blame somebody else Presidency" – it is discouraging - He has been partisan, arrogant – undiplomatic – unable to reach across the aisle – and always disparaging the other side - NOT the way to govern if one hopes to get something good done - Obama is uncompromising and a divider – which has been detrimental to the nation.

    September 11, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. tom

    Support for ObamaCare is dropping amongst those making less than $50k. I think that is because they are starting to realize that this will actually cost them something, albeit still subsidized. If the Democrats want to regain support from this group they need to change how it will be paid, which means forcing the top 2% to pay for all of it. Fair idea? No but it will be popular amongst those who like government freebies.

    September 11, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. GreggEsq2000

    Perhaps if people actually sat down and read the law, or at least an accurate synopsis of what the law entails, rather than some posting their dopey right wing uncle puts up on his Facebook page they might actually find that the law carries more benefits than detriments.

    September 11, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. You Betcha!

    Since it is actually the Republicans who are proposing shutting down the government to get their way, the GOP would get the blame.

    September 11, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. mcjny

    The best thing to do when dealing with stupid or corrupt people is to call their bluff. They have nothing to gain and everything to lose. The hard core right would vote for republicans if satan himself were running. They cannot be repaired. A drastic and purely political move like that hurts the nation will turn the rest firmly against the conservatives. If they do it, we will hang them out to dry and clean the house of all of the failures, on both aisles.

    September 11, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. Sniffit

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

    Your brussel sprouts. Eat them.

    September 11, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Eileen Roberts

    Really?? On the day after President Obama makes an incredible, common sense speech to Americans – of which a majority appreciated and changed their view regarding Syria, you cannot let that stand for a minute. You have to try to divert attention to something potentially negative on the "latest poll" regarding health care and label it as "breaking news"!!! CNN is looking more and more like Fox every day. Sad.

    September 11, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. Realist

    You Libs are whacked. Stop milking the government benefits, get a education and a job! Stop living off independents and the GOP. Obomacare is a government program like the IRS it will only ruin working American lives.

    September 11, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. Neal


    The Dems have ALSO spent half a billion advertising Obamacare just like the GOP. The difference here is this is tax dollars being spent on a bill that was rushed to a vote without much oversight and it itself is both costly and will most certainly raise the premiums on most Americans.

    This is why Democrats are trying to push its implementation back to 2015 knowing it will do so. I'm not advocating a government shut down but to argue Obamacare is either cost effective or "free healthcare" as a majority of its supporters believe is, well to put it in Biden's words "a bunch of malarkey".

    September 11, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. John

    Just goes to show that a lie goes halfway round the world before the truth gets it's boots on. Once people see it implemented public approval will increase again. But, also, what this study doesn't show (and what is highlighted by the fact that Democrats and women are the ones growing more cautious of this policy) is that a very solid percent of those saying that they do not like the bill, do so because they wish for an even more progressive solution to the health care situation.

    Hence, this can not really indicate great bounding gains by the tea party, rather it is more indicative of an increasing awareness and discontent that the health care bill did not go far enough in providing something akin to a single payer option.

    September 11, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Gene

    The Republicans, and right-wing talking points are convincing gullible, and out of touch idiots. These rich people who are against health care have health care and a life time pension. A blind person can see how destructive the Republicans are. Those people look possess go me. Even democrats disagree sometimes. Rep are locked in step filled with hatred. Almost like cult members. People will eventually see the light only it will probably be too late.

    September 11, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. john wright

    Americans are starting to realize Obama lied to them over health care. Giving exemptions to his union friends and screwing all other workers.

    September 11, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. O'drama ya Mama

    "If I don't get my way I'm taking my ball and I'm going home" – GOP/Tea Party

    September 11, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Starman

    When you have billion dollar companies spending millions of dollars a day on negative completely erroneous anti-marketing campaigns against it... people who hear it over and over eventually believe its true. Welcome to modern day America where corporations can shape the "truth" with money even contrary to every factual scientific method derived fact.

    September 11, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. paul

    so when 51% wants it, the polls are rigged. when 39% wants it, the polls are completely fine.

    circular logic at its' best.

    September 11, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. mb2010a

    If the Republicans/tea baggers do manage to shut down the government, they can kiss the 2014 election and control of the House goodbye. They will lose control anyway, but this will seal their fate once and for all. I guess they must have a death wish...

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

    Why must all liberals treat Obama like a handicapped kid performing in the Special Olympics? He can repeatedly fall flat on his rear end time and time again, but they keep cheering him on, gushing on about what a great job he is doing. That kind of response may be correct in say, the Special Olympics, but absolutely NOT when it comes to the president of the United States. Unfortunately, our current president never was and likely never will be, capable of performing his job well. He is WAAAAY out over his skis, and it shows in his management of domestic policy, healthcare policy, economic policy, and foreign policy. There is really nothing that he is doing well, and his continuously declining approval ratings prove that the American public concurs. His healthcare policy is a disaster, which will torpedo our economy worse than the recession of 2008 managed to do. If we cannot afford our current healthcare system, then please explain how we will cover the cost of those who are currently covered, PLUS those who are currently not covered, PLUS the enormous government bureaucracy which is being created to manage it. Be prepared for the quality of our healthcare to diminish substantially, while wait times for treatment increase substantially, and costs for everyone skyrocket (except, of course, for those who don't pay taxes or are in this country illegally). Great plan, Mr. President.

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