Shutdown polls: No winners, but a bigger loser
October 10th, 2013
09:15 PM ET
9 years ago

Shutdown polls: No winners, but a bigger loser

Washington (CNN) - A week and a half into a partial government shutdown and one week before a crucial deadline to raise the nation's debt ceiling, new polls indicate that Americans are angry and are blaming both political parties for the impasse.

Sixty percent of people questioned in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Thursday say if given the chance to vote to defeat every single member of Congress, including their own representative, they would. That's the highest level ever recorded on that question in NBC News/Wall Street Journal polling. 
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But the results of the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey and a handful of other national polls released earlier this week also suggest that while neither side is faring well, more fingers are being pointed at Republicans than at Democrats and President Barack Obama.

According to the numbers, neither side's getting off scot-free.

"People don't like the spectacle of the government shutting down and that's what's driving everybody's numbers down," CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, anchor of "State of the Union," said.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland agreed: "The bad news for both parties is that the shutdown is making the public feel worse about both sides."

But more blame and anger seems to be directed at the GOP.

"Depending on which question and which poll you look it, either the Republicans have fallen further than the Democrats or both parties have lost the same amount of ground but the Republicans started in a worse position," Holland said. "Either way, the shutdown appears to have put the GOP in a somewhat weaker position at this moment in time."

According to a CNN/ORC International poll conducted last weekend, 63% said they were angry at the Republicans for the way they have handled the shutdown, which was sparked by a push by conservative lawmakers to tie their drive to defund the president's signature health care law to a bill to continue to fund the federal government.

Democrats didn't get off easy in the survey, with 57% angry at them for the way they've handled the shutdown, and 53% said the same thing about Obama. The CNN results were similar to a Pew Research Center poll conducted at the same time that found slightly more people blaming congressional Republicans rather than Democrats in Congress and Obama for the partial shutdown.

But the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey and two other polls suggested a wider gap between the two parties.

By a 22-point margin, more people in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey blame the GOP in Congress rather than the White House for the partial shutdown. And only 24% approve of the job congressional Republicans are doing, 12-points lower than the approval rating for their Democratic counterparts.

Forty-five percent of those questioned in an ABC News/Washington Post poll said they approved of the way Obama was handling budget negotiations, with 35% saying the same thing about congressional Democrats. Neither figure is anything to brag about, but they are better than this number: Only 25% gave a thumbs up to how the GOP in Congress was handling the budget talks.

And just 28% of those in the new Gallup survey say they have a favorable opinion of the Republican party, down 10 points from last month, an all-time low in nearly 75 years of Gallup polling. The favorable rating for the Democratic party slipped four points in the survey to 43%.

"Clearly the Republicans have taken a larger hit on this," CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger said. "And this is exactly what I think the House speaker anticipated when he originally did not want to have this strategy of tying defunding Obamacare to funding the government. This was something he and others warned of."

These national polls may not be registering with the approximate 40 conservative lawmakers behind the push to dismantle Obamacare.

"The big leadership in the Republican Party gets this," CNN Chief National Correspondent John King said. "The hard part is trying to sell this to an individual House member who's going home to a district where he or she got 55% or 65% of the vote or maybe was unopposed in the last election. They don't worry about national polls. They worry about their district back home and that's the split you have in the party right now."

Filed under: Government Shutdown • Polls
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Howard

    Gee, I wonder if anyone tried to find out if there's a correlation between respondents who were Republicans and respondents who were blaming the Democrats and Obama?

    Nah, that wouldn't be meaningful data.

    October 10, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. PJ

    The GOP should be ashamed of themselves. They have allowed 40 idiot Tea Party folks to take charge of the country. Thank the Lord we have a Democratic President and Senate. The GOP is out of control.

    October 10, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. stta

    I would like to link the poll questions to those who think the Republicans are acting appropriately to the views of the people being polled. How many hate the ACA, Democratic or Black President and would rather destroy the country than lose to these concepts. I understand people wanting to hold their ground but they also have to look at the best interest for the country and not themselves. Holding ground for a fight that can't be won straight on is not very bright. In other words I respect the Tea Party and their followers as they are passionate but not too bright. Their "my way or the highway" is something one would expect from 5 year old's not intelligent politicians and followers. They could be trying to fix things instead of creating a war.

    October 10, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Dan Smith

    Both political parties looks terrible. The President looks even far damaged by all this. He is not and never was a LEADER, he is a community organizer that was not ready for a big roll.
    Straight from the horse's mouth. Mitt Romney remarked following his landslide defeat that it was the "Obama ground game" that defeated him. Must be something to that community organizing stuff, don'cha think?

    October 10, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Steve in MA

    No, the parties are not equal. The Republicans started out with a demand to change an existing law "in return" for doing their jobs and passing appropriations bills. They did this as a "leverage" maneuver, because they do not have the votes in Congress to alter the law. That's blackmail. Additionally, the Republicans have withheld passing a clean continuing resolution, despite the fact that CNN proved it would pass. Why? Because the Republicans have elevated politics over country. Its more important to adhere to the Hastert Rule than it is to do their jobs. The Democrats passed a budget in the Senate and asked for a conference committee SEVENTEEN times, since April. The time to negotiate over spending and debt reduction would have been during a conference committee. House Republicans rejected every one of those requests. The true facts matter, and I'm not talking about Republican manufactured facts, which Republicans love to conjure up. The parties are far from equally guilty here. Republicans represent greed and politics. Republicans represent gridlock. Even good Republicans are bad now. They won't vote against the Tea Baggers unless their arms are twisted. Its time to un-elect all Republicans.

    October 10, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. 911Survivor

    The GOP shipped jobs abroad, works to deny basic health rights to women, and now wants to deny us even a chance to buy health insurance at our own cost is we have pre-existing conditions. In what way is any of this good business? In what way is undermining confidence in the US good business? Is the GOP really working on behalf of some other country – because they sure as heck are NOT working for us, when they condescend to work at all. As far as the people of the US are concerned, the GOP is in our rear view mirror, we are leaving them in the dust of history as we move forward. Bye bye, GOP.

    October 10, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Flotsam

    More CNN (MSM) and liberals' fingers are pointing at the Republicans.


    Not true in the least! Not when you had Republican congressman as far back as two years ago announcing to their constituents that they were shutting down the govt. They hadn't identify the issue, but they were SO sure they were going to use the tactic. and there is plenty of evidence in both video and transcripts of their recklessness.

    Add to that the glee the GOP House members exhibited after their last (Failing vote) , this is what they wanted and this was echoed by Michelle Bachmann who stated " we got everything we wanted with this shutdown". Didn't see the President or any Democrats doing that, not a one.

    And now it is not even clear what their demands are for hostage. At first it was repeal of ACA, then a deferrment of individual mandate of ACA and for some it was just to be "respected and they wanted something" They just didn't know what. This has been disgraceful and damaging to the country. We should be sending the bill to Ted Cruz who kicked all this off with his non-filibuster. Republicans OWN this shutdown and they will OWN a default if it comes to that.

    October 10, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. John G

    I have been robbed of my representative democracy by the tea party. First, they held the GOP hostage, created an identify crisis and followed it up with a witch hunt to depose moderates and conservative free thinkers. Next, they held the political process hostage, and ensured absolutely nothing was accomplished unless you count our credit rating falling the last time they did this. Finally, they are holding the USA hostage with threats of defaulting on costs already approved by majority vote, all the while allowing citizens and business to suffer economically as collateral damage. Then they point to the suffering and blame a law passed in 2010, that could help so many if they put as much effort into improving that law, closing gaps and offering revisions to this free market solution as they do discrediting it before it's even in place. Now they try to reposition this as a overall question of budget, and will offer small concessions to alleviate the strain they now feel from their own outrageous behavior. Just reopen this Government, it belongs to us!

    October 10, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Joe

    It's alwys interesting listening to the so-called news organizations. Stop with the polls since they don't really matter. Everyone is mad and it's everyone's fault. We have 50% of the country not voting and then they want to complain if we don't get what we want. If you want change, then vote and not like some in Chicago, who vote multiple times. Let's try voting with a penalty. If you don't vote, you don't get any wrie offs on you taxes. Voting should be a law. It's you duty as an American to vote. I hate hearing friends complain and I ask if they voted and then they say "No". Then I think you've lost your rights to complain. Please! Stop pointing figers at the Republicians or the Tea Party and see what "We" have done to ourselves. They got elected just like the Liberals did on the Democrats side. They are just as bad since they have their agenda too but appears that the News organizations are okay with not being fair and balanced. If this was in reverse, would the president get a pass like our correct president is. We need him to grow up and lead. Like Reagan and Clinton did.

    October 10, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Mary Ann

    Republicans ARE and have ALWAYS been the problem! They have done absolutely *NOTHING* for the past 4+ years to actually HELP struggling/working class/middle class Americans. Why? Because they are so insanely fixated on trying to topple our President at any cost! McConnell said it loud and clear that their #1 priority (not jobs, not economic recovery), is to make Obama a one-term President. Rush Limbaugh said straight up that he prays Obama will fail. Michelle Bachmann said on Fox News the other day that they are excited about the shut down, even called it a victory! This is not rocket science people. You don't have to even have half a brain to realize that the GOP is not in the people's corner! The GOP must go in 2014 and 2016!

    October 10, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. Steve Miller

    Yes, people may be frustrated with the Democrats for their role in this, and especially regarding concerns over ACA, but the coming elections will show that the unaffiliated (read: un-brainwashed) voters will go out of their way to send a strong message to a Republican party–one that thought it could usurp the Constitution and throw our country into a complete state of disarray all in the name of fabricating artificial leverage for a political agenda that otherwise could not have stood on its own. There is a time and a place for everything, and the Tea Party picked wrong on both. Senseless damage has already been done. Our voice will be heard, loud and clear.

    October 10, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Nort All Docs Play Golf

    Baaaaahhhhh! What are you, the good shepherd of SarahPalinville? BTW... your boy Rand Paul should be checked for rabies. And few of you right wingers know that Rand is named after an atheist. Not that atheism is a bad thing, but it is to you guys.

    October 10, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. June C

    AP Poll: Congress at 5% Job Approval, Obama at 37%

    October 10, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. TruthMatters

    The headline speaks volumes about the role of the media in this fiasco since they are part of the problem. A better headline would be that ALL are getting the blame (which is probably different from what it was last that is a headline). If the media would ever stop regurgitating the Democratic talking points and ask real questions they might get back to doing their job. Many Americans may be asleep or slow but those of us that have some intellectual honesty can see through all of the BS. The Fed government works for "we the people" which most politicians have forgotten. Not only can the Democrats also reopen all government within an hour (by delaying individual mandate 1 year and forgoing special privileges for ACA), they can also reopen the individual parts of the government that the Dems are whining about. If more people do not see the potential of authoritarian rule based on the President and Dems actions I am not sure what will wake them up. Despicable actions so they can use the media and stupid talking points to blame Republicans who are actually the only ones doing their jobs!

    October 10, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. the hippies were right

    Will the owner of Rick McDaniel please give him his meds!

    October 10, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. Whitley

    The term "big leadership" isn't really applicable anymore. The TP is clearly calling the shots within the GOP.

    October 10, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. crazysmart

    Those people working as congressmen/women are not representatives for the whole population of the united States of America, they only represent their party and self interested groups. They should not be given names as US house of represntative or senator, they should be labelled as GOP/teaparty or Democraitc house rep/senator. Now I do see I can do much better job with much less pay than those people in congree in term of my clients I served in the ocmmunity.

    October 10, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Murthy

    With the lunatic tail wagging the republican dog their days are numbered in the senate and house

    October 10, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Steve in MA

    No, the parties are not equal. The Republicans started out with a demand to change an existing law "in return" for doing their jobs and passing appropriations bills.
    I differentiate it a little differently. "The Republicans started out with an agreement to set the spending levels where the Republicans wanted in 'in return' for a clean bill that the Democrats wanted. It was all good until Boehner was bullied by the Tea Party into adding the 'Defund Obamacare' amendment to it, which the Senate promptly removed and sent back to the House." In other words, the "Defund Obamacare" amendment amounted to a major renege by the Tea Party, not the Republicans. The Republicans had just simply rolled over and surrendered to the Tea Party.

    Since that time, the "Republicans" [read Tea Party] have been disengeniously demanding that Pres. Obama negotiate with them at the risk of shutting down the government and/or possibly defaulting on the nation's debt.

    October 10, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. It's a good fight

    The fight to bring some sort of socialized medicine to the U.S. will go on for a decade but it must go forward. the only other things we are leaving to the next generation are war Debt, a bad tax code, a tarnished environment, a week education system, and a corrupt political system. the hard line Republicans will fight socialized medicine to their political death because it is not their vision of the winner take all America. but it is a measure of preparation for a future that will have 40 million uninsured Americans with heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes that we must have for the next generation.

    October 10, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Murthy

    A good leader follows his flock, as Bohner is doing

    October 10, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. greg

    Phil Gramm (one of the most disgusting humans on earth) is getting competition from some of these teabaggers and are giving him a run for the title once said
    "he was going to go hunt democrats with the dogs" well Phil I wish they would declare open season on the "R's"
    I would be first inline.

    October 10, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. noteasilyswayed

    In case you missed it, the Koch brothers and other right wing extremists backers withdrew their support from tying the defunding of Obama care to a debt ceiling increase yesterday afternoon (they actually denied that they were "directly" tied to these attempts)..... in other words, the support for defunding Obama care by threatening these extreme measures is gone now, so the Republicans all of a sudden today decided to extend the debt ceiling for a period of six weeks.....LOL, these Republicans are puppets of the Koch brothers and other super rich contributors; everyone knows this and they are not fooling anyone by these antics. Vote them all out in the next election; get rid of the radicals on both sides of the aisle. Elect only people who are willing to compromise and work for the betterment of the majority of Americans.

    October 10, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota


    Oh dear. Someone doesn't like the polling results. Yeah, I know it sucks when you wanted it to be all Obama's fault. God knows folks such as yourself have been living on overdrive for 5 years now trying to fault this President. You all have gone from teleprompters to community organizer to golf. Nothing sticks though, eh?

    October 10, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. Chris

    How many times have you been in a "government" office and the help was poor? More often than not more than likely! Many government workers are now hired based on race instead of ability and it shows in their work and their attitudes towards the public. Congress, and especially Obama, remind me of the typical government employee -- entitled people who don't realize how good of a job they have.

    October 10, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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