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. dave

    I'd wonder what would have been higher, a tax to support a single payer system, a non-profit system, or the cost of a health care insurance premium? Things to remember are that the republicans still have no alternative to Obamacare, and single payer did pass in the House, under Pelosi. Obamacare still does not beat the single payer, non-profit, system that most of the developed World has. We still have a mess in nursing home care, which should be run by the government and be non-profit, as the private sector has failed at elder care or nursing home care. Perhaps we shouldn't have Obamacare, but then the alternative should not be the republican's non-plan, but should be single payer, non-profit health care. A poll before anything passed into law stated that most Americans favored health care reform even if it meant a raise in taxes, that probably meant single payer, non-profit health care.

    September 11, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "I would like to see a poll of what they oppose about Obamacare."

    Why bother? The polling company won't include options covering the real reasons anyway...and everyone knows precisely what I mean.

    September 11, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. George

    Honest truth. The people most to blame are the ones who can't seem to vote on one thing at a time instead of mixing other things in to cloud the issues. Both parties are to blame in these cases and both parties need to grow up. This country is about tired of losing to the highest bidder. We need balance all across the board and we need it about now. If this is the greatest country in the world we need to start acting like it. No body gets left behind. Even if it means we need to work a little harder seeing that this gets met. That means if you choose to work and contribute you have a place to live, food in your stomach and clothing on your back period. Secondly if you choose to contribute to the economics of this country there is no reason you should not be able to see a doctor and not have it break your bank. Profits are good and great and growth is outstanding but all people must grow to keep equal balance and stability. This I built this stuff has to stop because we all built this. From our great grandparents to today. We are all in this together. Its not socialism its not liberal. It's our nation and our nations people. When it all falls apart no one is going to come and bail us out as a whole. In fact the whole world crashes if we crash. Its time to stop thinking of just ourselves and the petty reasons we give for not ensuring the wealth goes around to those who earn it. No ones success has ever been self built. There has always been a mentor, a co-worker or a team. Act like it. Compensate like it, and remember our economy will only be as big or as strong as the people who create it. The consumers. And a consumer is an employed person who is able to purchase a said good with earnings of which they earned. If they don't have enough earnings they don't have enough to spend and if they don't have enough to spend the amount of demand goes down and along with it so does value.

    September 11, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. Jules

    The GOP keeps yapping about defunding Obamacare but they never say what they will do with those covered under their parents insurance until 26, or what they would do about the millions of children who didn't have insurance but now they do, or what they would do about the caps being eliminated from insurance, or what they would do about pre-existing conditions. These are things that are in effect now – more comes into effect on Oct. 1 and other things on Jan. 1. So what's the GOP plan? Turn everything back over to the big bucks insurance companies is my guess. Obamacare was the Republican plan until it came from President Obama. It would serve this useless group of legislators right if their plan was forever known as Obamacare.

    September 11, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. Be Sane

    I would venture a guess that 99.9% of those who are against the Afforable Healthcare law have never taken the effort to research what is in the bill. A previous comment was absolutely correct, these people take as fact what is written on these message boards. Always, always the nut cases are the most vocal.
    Try facts, they serve everyone so much better than uneducated blather.

    September 11, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  6. 70%H2O

    This is common sense people. If Congress and their staff don't want it, why would anyone else? If it quacks like a duck.......

    September 11, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. leah

    American public = undereducated

    September 11, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  8. MilitaryAF

    People that question the value and importance of Obamacare need to look at countries that have comparable medical coverage. Canada, European countries, etc. all have this, AND LOVE IT! Americans can't comprehend the peace of mind that guaranteed medical coverage can/will provide. The stories of waiting for months to get medical care, surgery, etc. is a bunch of bull. I have over 20 relatives in Canada that have this medical care & all have had the highest quality and timely treatment.

    September 11, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "This is a country that said by 23% that Romney killed Bin Laden."

    Haha, that's a good one. Another: 30% of Louisiana GOPers/Teatrolls think Obama was at fault for the poor response to Katrina in 2005 (when he was just a freshman Senator).

    September 11, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. QS

    I don't really understand how people who were against the status quo, but thought the ACA didn't go far enough, could still answer in a poll that they don't support the new healthcare legislation when they at least support it more than they did the status quo, even if it wasn't what they wanted.

    Not to mention there are enough gullible people in this country who still bother listening to conservatives about anything, so it's not surprising that the more conservatives lie about the law the more the most gullible will start to believe it.

    September 11, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. teaparty days are numbered

    how many more "ploys" are the GOP going to try to use to hurt the American citizens, thats all this party is about a ploy to embarass the POTUS, c'mon kids get back to helping this country instead of acting like schoolyard bullies

    September 11, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Don James

    Higher Health Care cost for All! Thanks for voting it into Law!!

    September 11, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. jp

    What is really interesting to me, is that no one wants social medicine, but when ANYONE goes to the Emergency Room, they get taken care of. Since we are already paying for this through higher premiums, why not just recognize it for what it is and make it 100 percent visible.

    September 11, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  14. mb2010a


    You are anything but objective.

    September 11, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. Eric

    I love all the people saying the GOP has brainwashed people into thinking Obamacare is bad even though it isn't. Guess what, it's bad. Get over it.

    September 11, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. T. Paine

    There is one thing I am so sick of – CNN polls. I don't need breaking news emails for CNN polls. CNN polls are not news. Rioting in the streets – that would be news. Huge numbers of people voting for someone – that's news. The Republicans doing something to solve problems – that would be news. Polling people 15 minutes after the President speaks before they have time to think about it and consider it, that's just manufactured news. Ted Turner had a great idea and CNN used to be great, but it's tabloid news now, and I don't watch it any more. As to the 39%, the people who complain about the health care law don't even know part of it hasn't gone into effect yet and that what has gone into effect is working just fine.

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

    What is a Canadian to think?

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

    @realist – I'm a proud liberal, with a PhD and an excellent income. I don't live off independents and I support the social contract that is the fabric of success in this country. That education you say I should get? A free education is a government benefit. Uninformed statements like yours remind me of the superficiality of most people's knowledge or thought processes.

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

    '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!!'

    First – I was tempted to say something like 'From the bunch of conservative brain dead wagon...' or the likes, but then I remembered that there's no need to reach your abyssal level of conversation, there are conservatives out there that don't use childish name callings to expose their points of view, you're not even in the majority among your peers.
    Second – The debt limit doesn't work as you believe it does.
    Third – The previous POTUS was the one that maxed the credit, since TWO wars and and extention of Medicare (his work) could not be kept out of the books forever... could it?

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

    I'm just glad this normally liberal comment form on cnn is debating down the middle despite the flying insults

    September 11, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. JL

    61% of people don't want it. Some republicans want to defund it. What's the problem? They don't want to defund anything else or shut the government down. Just defund a wildly unpopular socialist healthcare system that will cost taxpayers a trillion dollars and is already costing low income workers benefits and hours. What is wrong with proposing to shut Obamacare down?

    September 11, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. Big_D

    The big dollars and constant lies of the GOP are starting to pay off. Of course it would harm most people to end the Healthcare law but who cares about people when there is money to make!

    September 11, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. Derek

    Obama needs to keep his nose clean... and this debacle with Syria isn't helping him.
    The Obamacare act is still the right thing to do.

    September 11, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. 70%H2O

    Funny, when CNN reports a fact, ie a poll, some of the LIbs on here by pure emotional reaction say CNN is becoming like Fox. Hard not to live in the imaginary bubble I guess....

    September 11, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. bribarian

    Shut er Down

    September 11, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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