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. Data Driven

    A lot of recent polling on all topics, particularly Syria, seem to have multiple, contradictory answers. In this case, people blame Republicans for any impending shutdown, yet Obamacare is also losing favor. Indicates to me that people aren't following the news very closely.

    September 11, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. Jim

    Liberals in this country...please wake up and see that free has a cost associated with it. Yes, Obamacare is going to give everyone care. BUT, someone (taxpayers, future generations, Chinese debt loans) will have to pay for it. Free has a cost. Everyone send me $5. I could use the free $. Oh wait...only I would be enjoying your "free" $. Fix the problem, not just dilute it and spread it out among everyone with a job, business, or savings.

    September 11, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. Big_D

    I personally support the 80% rule. I have already received a refund from my insurance company. How is it bad to make health insurance companies spend 80% on actual healthcare?

    September 11, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. jono

    Funny how conservatives are saying democrats cant balance a check book, yet they had 8 years of blank checks, and now its time to grow up and pay up, theyre saying its the democrats. Its like a child spending all their money/ credit cards and then getting upset at their parents/ or creditors for telling them to pay up

    September 11, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. James

    Let's see who would get the blame? Who got the blame the last time the GOP shut down the government?

    September 11, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. Mike

    Support is dropping because employers are cutting worker's hours to part-time so that they do not have to offer health insurance to their employees. Obamacare is creating a nation of part-time workers dependent on the government for health insurance subsidies. It looks like no one thought this through very well.

    September 11, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. John

    Health Care is a scam . There is no rational to the cost of health care in this country. Hospitals charge outrageous fees, accept the payment the insurance companies have neogiated with them and stick the patient for the difference. That is a bankruptcy for the patient waiting to happen. Its time for America to get behind changing the system. If its Affordable Health Care Act so be it. We are all being fleeced.

    September 11, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. TheBigT

    I would suspect that those that support this bill have NEVER read all of it.
    Especially if you are over 65, you will be talked to by an END OF LIFE consultant/advisor.
    You may not even get needed healthcare because you are a burden to society and the system.
    If the government deems it too expensive for you to get needed care, you will NOT get that care. They decide, not you.
    Also, your flexible spending account is being phased OUT. No more tax savings for anyone on health related expenses.

    Better read and figure out what's really going on folks.

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

    Americans do not want Obama Care. It's not that hard to comprehend. Repeal and Replace with Medicare and leave heath care like the private/ public schools. No one wants forced care!!!

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

    Wow, here is a shocker! I think most people knew well before Obama signed this into law that it was going to be painful. Healthcare costs are jumping, companies are limiting hours to save on the rising costs. Military personnel are getting hammered with costs too. As a retired veteran, I thought it would be nice to take advantage of the healthcare benefits provided to retirees and family members. Come to find out, this year alone the costs have jumped over 17%. By 2016 the costs are expected to rise another 320%.

    Obama and the left have turned a survivable system into a financial debacle that is costing the American taxpayer well over 1 trillion dollars and still no end in sight. Now no one in their right mind wants the president to fail but to date, he has had a laundry list of failures.

    1. He stated that he would reduce the deficit by half. We are rapidly closing in on it being doubled when he leaves office in 2016
    2. He attacks the 2nd amendment while providing arms to rebels in Syria (who are known Hexbolla and al-Queada supporters)
    3. Rand the healthcare bill through without 2/3 majority.
    4. Has yet to take action on Benghazi and supported Hillary Clinton and her "What does it matter" speech
    5. While countries are trying to recover by cutting spending, Obama believes we can spend our way out of trouble. Is not that what Greece tried to do? Our dollar is also pretty weak.
    6. Has lied over and over to the public from the beginning. He said his father was in WWII. Not sure how that is possible being that his father was born in 1935. Also his father was never an American citizen.
    7. His Aggressor General Eric Holder has put arms in the hands of drug lords resulting in the death of at least one American citizen
    8. Obama has injected himself into just about every high profile case pushing the race issue.
    9. His administration goes to great lengths to protect him from the public to the point where a simple clown mask of him caused a rodeo clown to lose his job. Yet, there were clown masks of Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and both Bush's.
    10. Any time someone disagrees with his policies or agenda they are called racist yet Obama has pushed the racial card.
    11. Obama has yet to reach across party lines and lead by example. Instead he blames the republicans for everything. Last time I checked, Obama was elected to lead this country, not point blame. It is not the republicans fault, it is his fault for failing to lead.

    Just like the captain of a ship. If there is a collision or accident onboad, the captain is ultimately responsible. Accepting responsibility is something that Obama has not done.

    September 11, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. tpicciani

    The public is going to finally have to pay a portion of their paycheck for healthcare rather than get it for free at the usual Emergency Room. Well, I say that's good. Yea, they aren't getting paid well to start but the payment is proportional. I'd rather have the cost taken up by wages than taxes anyway. Less dependence on handouts is good for the economy. But the portion of the 61% who don't have healthcare now won't like it. After all, it's not free anymore!

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

    In a raw language they are GOP thugs.

    September 11, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. realist512

    I would like to see a poll of people who are sick of news being reported via polls. Most of the persons being polled at ignorant of news. They just read other polls.

    Enough all ready!!!!

    September 11, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. Harry Cline

    Lashawn Marten, who is black, could face hate crime charges in an attack on a 62-year-old white man who later died.

    Not to change the subject here, but that incident above was the one last week in Union Square in New York city. For you Whites out there, when you run into a Black person with a name like the one above be very cautious because these Blacks are the newer generations who took trying to distance themselves from the main stream and trying to be so different to the extreme.

    September 11, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. churchstate

    Did you really expect anything different? slow news day?

    When people were getting all the benefits they loved it. Now that some people will have to be paying shortly... the support drops.

    When are people going to realize that most people in the USA don't care about their neighbors, they just care about themselves and their immediate family if their immediate family is lucky.

    The PROBLEM is that we are making a profit from health care, that's just wrong on so many levels.

    That 30% insurance companies take off the top....that would insure every single american and fill the gap for the costs.

    greed will only take our country so far.

    September 11, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. kbh

    The current medical system is broken (as is the education system, political system, etc). It will bankrupt us if we don't change. Obamacare/ACA may not be the end all and be all, and will need tweeking as we work out the bugs, but it is a step in the right direction.

    September 11, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. Ipploit

    The GOP gets the blame because the only people who care if the government shuts down are the people who are rely on the government instead of taking responsibility for themselves.

    September 11, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. CC

    it is really amazing how most people who hate the new law have not provided any alternatives or proposals to limit the (greedy) profit driven healthcare industry. Anyone who has worked for 10 years or more knows that the healthcare industry has been gouging the general public who have healthcare under the guise of having to increase premiums to pay for the cost of all the uninsured using emergency rooms for care. Now we have a way to try and limit these problems and all we get from the GOP is to defund, with no options for any alternatives to improve a system that is out of control and helping to kill the middle class.

    September 11, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. jayb18

    Both parties are totally corrupt and have been overtaken by greed. Neither party is capable of leading this country in the right direction.

    September 11, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  20. Matt

    It goes both ways, the lack of support for the law. On the RIGHT, they think it goes too far. On the LEFT, they don't think it goes far enough. The way I see it...the fact that neither the far RIGHT nor far LEFT are completely satisfied...that means it's a balanced approach. The RIGHT; however, is much more vocal and willing to tear it down than the left, who'd rather add to it. Keep in mind that the RIGHT has no ideas of their own...its easy for them to tear this down, but what would they replace it with?

    September 11, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. deee510

    You idiots call obama a fool and other childish we are to believe that you all are so important and intellegent?is that why you spend your days and night here obsessing over obama.sure the real elite in america come here everyday whining and praying for obamas downfall.sure he is the fool.lmao idiots full of crap

    September 11, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  22. Matthew

    Why weren't the Democrats in Congress an option? Bias, much?

    September 11, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. KB

    What's ObamaCare got to do with our budget? After spending more than $2 trillion on foreign wars, can't we now spend money on our own people to better their lives? 45 million without health care. Young people who can't afford health care. The insurance exchanges make health care insurance cheaper. We don't have to pay for the poor to go the emergency room for care. I don't get it? What's not to like about Obamacare?

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

    I always blame the bullies. In this case, the bullies are clearly Republican. Aggressors. Attackers. When it comes to tearing down the country, the Teaparty knows no bounds. Stops at nothing. Has no shame.

    September 11, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    George Bush, of course! :O

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