The coming battles over a bill to keep the government funded and raising the debt ceiling could turn into a disaster for Republicans, a
new CNN/ORC poll suggests.
According to the poll, 51% of respondents would blame Congressional Republicans in the case of a government shutdown. That’s up from 40% the last time a government shutdown was a potential issue — back in March. The government needs to pass a new continuing resolution by Sept. 30 to avoid a shutdown and keep the government funded.
Only one-third of respondents said they would blame President Barack Obama in the case of a shutdown. That’s down from 38% back in March, and it leads to a significant split that could place the blame mostly on the shoulders of Republicans.
The number looks even worse for Republicans in the debate over raising the debt ceiling — where many Republicans are looking to carry out a fight. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said last month that the debt ceiling will need to be hiked by mid-October.
But according to the CNN poll, if it’s not raised, 54% said they would blame Congressional Republicans. Only 25% would blame Obama.
The poll shows that the public has legitimate concerns over both prospects. Combined, 62% of respondents said that a failure to raise the debt ceiling would either lead to a “crisis” or “major problems.” And 74% said the same about a government shutdown if it lasted “a few weeks.”
On Wednesday, House leadership pulled from the schedule a stopgap spending bill because of internal disagreements over the funding it would, in effect, appropriate for the Affordable Care Act.
GOP leaders’ plan would send two bills to the Senate: One that keeps the government open and spending about as much money as it has been, and another that amends that spending bill to defund various parts of Obamacare implementation. They would allow the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass the former, as long as there is a vote on the latter.
Conservative House members and conservative groups staunchly opposed that plan. In any case, they have three weeks to figure it out — and then another two to three weeks to debate the debt ceiling.
The poll also shows vulnerabilities for Obama. Only 43% approve of how Obama is handling the economy, and 36% approve of how he’s handling the federal-budget deficit.
And though they might be worried about using Obamacare as a bargaining chip, public support for the health care law has dipped 12 points over the past nine months. In January, 51% said they favoured all or most of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act. That number has dipped to 39%.
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