As the battle over ObamaCare continues, a new CNN poll shows the public more or less evenly split between blaming the GOP and the Dear Leader if the dispute causes a government shutdown tomorrow.
The CNN/ORC International poll released Monday morning shows that while 46% would blame congressional Republicans for the government shutdown, 49% would assign either all or some of the blame to Obama.
More significantly, the poll shows a move toward blaming Obama following a similar survey conducted earlier in the month. As CNN reports:
"The number who would hold congressional Republicans responsible has gone down by 5 points since early September, and the number who would blame Obama is up 3 points in that same time," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Those changes came among most demographic groups."
The CNN poll is similar to a CBS News/New York Times survey released late last week that indicated 44% blaming congressional Republicans and 35% pointing fingers at the president. Two other polls conducted in the past week and a half, from Pew Research Center and United Technologies/National Journal, showed a much closer margin but their questions mentioned Republicans in general rather than the GOP in Congress.
Could Ted Cruz's 21-hour talkathon have moved the needle in the GOP's favor? It's quite likely, whether the Establishment Media is willing to admit it or not. As CNN acknowledges, other polls have shown the blame to be more equally shared. And even in this poll, independents are evenly divided - with 39% pointing the finger at Republicans and 38% at Obama.
The CNN poll also shows that 57% oppose Obamacare itself – up 3 points since May – compared to only 38% who support it. Independents oppose the law by 67-27 percent.
In a separate question, 47% of all people in the poll say that Obama is acting like a spoiled child in the budget battle. Also, 58% say congressional Democrats are acting like spoiled children. This indicates that there is plenty of blame to go around. It's not just a Republican problem. Only the biased media and the Democrats they support are making that bogus claim.
Obviously the media is spinning furiously on behalf of their creature, Obama. But as Mike Flynn points out:
Democrats and the media are convinced that the public will "blame" Republicans for the looming government shutdown. This is predicated on memories that Republicans were "blamed" for the last government shutdown, in 1995-96. The media certainly did "blame" the GOP at the time for causing the shutdown. The voters, however, didn't seem to have the same view. Just months later, at the next election, the Republicans retained their majorities in Congress. The Senate GOP even picked up 2 seats, in a year in which Clinton won reelection.
President Clinton did win reelection that year, but it was with less than a majority of the vote. In other words, a majority of Americans voted against Bill Clinton in the three-way presidential race. Democrats stayed roughly even in the House and lost ground in the Senate.
Senate Republicans went into the 1996 election with 53 seats in the Senate. They emerged with 55. In the House, the Republicans lost just two seats, retaining their majority. The conventional wisdom today is that the GOP "suffered" as a result of the shutdown. The party should be so lucky this year.
All of this was at a time that the three broadcast networks and mainstream media could unilaterally dictate the political conversation. In 1996, they used this power to bludgeon the GOP over the shutdown and did eventually get the party to cave and agree to Clinton's budget terms. They have nothing like this power today.
In the months that followed, though, Republicans in Congress secured a balanced budget deal and achieved their long-sought goal to reform welfare. Whatever short-term "blame" they suffered from the shutdown didn't preclude policy and electoral success just months later.
The media may say now that the GOP is committing "political suicide" by pushing demands that threaten a shutdown. But, as the great philosopher Cab Calloway said, "It ain't necessarily so."
That's exactly right. For those who are wondering what a shutdown does or doesn't do, Heritage answers some frequently asked questions.