Six hours after the
federal government shut down for the first time in 17 years, a new Quinnipiac poll delivered the first warning sign for a Republican Party that stands to take the brunt of the blame.
According to the poll, American voters oppose shutting down the federal government to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act by a significant, 72-22 margin. And on another upcoming fight — raising the debt ceiling — Americans oppose using it to stop the health-care law’s implementation by a 64-27 margin.
And in general, 58% of Americans oppose cutting off funding for Obamacare to tinker with its implementation.
All of these should be significant red flags for the Republican Party, which polls have shown will take the bulk of the public’s blame for the shutdown.
According to the Quinnipiac poll, Democrats now hold a 9-point advantage in the general Congressional ballot — that is, Americans said they would vote for the Democratic candidate in their district over the Republican candidate by a 43-34 margin. That’s the highest it’s been all year.
And approval of Congressional Republicans is at its lowest point in the poll’s history. Only 17% of respondents said approve of the job Congressional Republicans are doing, compared with 74% who disapprove. That compares to a 32/60 approval-to-disapproval rating for Congressional Democrats and a 45/49 score for President Barack Obama.
55% of voters think gridlock is occurring in Washington because Republicans are “determined to block any Obama initiative,” while only 33% said it’s because of Obama’s lack of skill to convince Congress to work together.
“Americans are certainly not in love with Obamacare, but they reject decisively the claim by Congressional Republicans that it is so bad that it’s worth closing down the government to stop it,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“President Barack Obama enters this standoff over the budget with an edge over Congressional Republicans in the voters’ eyes.”
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