Americans are divided on who deserves blame for the government shutdown, but one thing’s certain: A solid majority thinks it’s wrong to demand changes to Obamacare as a price for reopening the government.
The latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll finds little consensus on whom to blame for shutting down the government — 38 percent say it’s the Republicans, 30 percent say it’s President Obama, and 19 percent say it’s both.
But public opinion is clearer on the House GOP’s approach: Overwhelmingly, Americans think Congress should fund the federal government and deal with health care separately; and just as strongly, Americans oppose including GOP priorities — even those with which they otherwise agree — in a bargain to raise the debt ceiling.
The results portend political risk for Republicans should they continue to employ their current approach. Americans oppose those tactics, the data show, and if the government breaches its debt limit, triggering broad-based economic turmoil, Americans could hold Republicans responsible.
The current installment of the United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll was conducted Oct. 3-6 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The poll surveyed 1,000 adults, half via cell phone, and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
Half of the poll’s respondents disapprove of Obama’s handling of negotiations over the shutdown, according to results from the same survey commissioned by the Pew Research Center. But congressional GOP leaders still score worse on this measure: 69 percent disapprove of the way they are handling the budget negotiations, while only 19 percent approve. Congressional Democrats fall in between: 29 percent approve and 58 percent disapprove.
Even though roughly half those surveyed in the current poll think the administration is mainly or equally to blame for the shutdown, and Obama and Democrats are underwater on the issue, Americans — by a vast ratio of more than 2-to-1 — disapprove of the House GOP tying the future of the Affordable Care Act to funding the government or raising the debt ceiling.
The poll shows that 65 percent think “Congress should provide the funding to keep the government operating and deal with the health care issue separately.” Just 24 percent think the House “is right to fund the continuing operations of the federal government only if Obama agrees to delay or withdraw his health care plan.”
Democrats are nearly unanimous on funding the government, while Republicans favor the House GOP position, though by a narrower margin (50 percent to 38 percent). Among independents, 66 percent think Congress should fund the government, and 23 percent think House Republicans are right.
The overall results are similar to a pre-shutdown United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, which found 27 percent of respondents thought the government should only be funded if the health care law was delayed or stricken, and 63 percent thought Congress should approve the funding and deal with health care separately.
The numbers are similar when it comes to the fight over extending the nation’s borrowing limit. Following other questions about ways to reduce the country’s deficit and the perceived ramifications of failing to raise the debt limit, poll respondents were told that congressional Republicans “say they will only agree to increase the federal debt ceiling if President Obama accepts their proposal on other issues.” Interviewers then asked about four GOP policy proposals — some of which have been found to be popular in previous surveys — but respondents said they opposed including every one of them in a debt-limit agreement by at least a 2-to-1 ratio.
Asked whether a “one-year delay for the implementation of President Obama’s health care law” should be included, 31 percent said it should, while 65 percent said it should be dealt with separately. Opposition ran just as strongly for tying “cuts in spending for domestic discretionary programs” and “cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal entitlement programs” to the debt-ceiling bill, with the poll finding results virtually equivalent to delaying the health care law.
The add-on generating the strongest opposition is also likely the most popular: Only 24 percent think that “a requirement that President Obama authorize the construction of the Keystone pipeline to transport oil from Canada to the U.S.” should be part of a debt-limit agreement, while 70 percent think it should be separate. A United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll in July found more than two-thirds of Americans supported building the Keystone XL pipeline, though that question included arguments on both sides of the issue and didn’t attach the project to raising the debt ceiling.
What We're Following See More »
"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president," said Hillary Clinton in becoming the first woman to accept a nomination for president from a major party. Clinton gave a wide-ranging address, both criticizing Donald Trump and speaking of what she has done in the past and hopes to do in the future. "He's taken the Republican party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America," Clinton said of Trump. However, most of her speech focused instead on the work she has done and the work she hopes to do as president. "I will be a president of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving, the successful," she said. "For those who vote for me and for those who don't. For all Americans together."
Supporters of Bernie Sanders promised to walk out, turn their backs, or disrupt Hillary Clinton's speech tonight, and they made good immediately, with an outburst almost as soon as Clinton began her speech. But her supporters, armed with a handy counter-chant cheat sheet distributed by the campaign, immediately began drowning them out with chants of "Hillary, Hillary!"
If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."
Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."
Catholics who attend mass at least weekly have increased their support of the Democratic nominee by 22 points, relative to 2012, when devout Catholics backed Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, a Morning Consult poll shows that those voters with advanced degrees prefer Hillary Clinton, 51%-34%. Which, we suppose, makes the ideal Clinton voter a Catholic with a PhD in divinity.