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Poll: Government Shutdown A ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Disaster For GOP

Memo Pad Politics

Poll: Government Shutdown A ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Disaster For GOP


The government shutdown has been a “jaw-dropping” disaster for the Republican Party, leaving it with historically low levels of support, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

The poll finds that the Republican Party’s messaging on the government shutdown has fallen completely flat with the public. Americans blame the GOP over President Obama for the shutdown by a 53 to 31 percent margin, and an overwhelming 70 percent say that Republicans are putting their own political agenda ahead of what is good for the country. Just 27 percent say that they are demonstrating strong leadership and standing up for what they believe in.

The crisis has taken a devastating toll on the party’s approval rating. A startling 67 percent now disapprove of the job that congressional Republicans are doing, while only 25 percent approve.

Just 24 percent have a favorable view of the Republican Party, compared to 53 percent who view the GOP negatively. The Tea Party movement is similarly disliked, with 21 percent viewing it favorably and 47 percent unfavorably. These are the worst favorability numbers for both the GOP and the Tea Party in the history of the poll.

House Speaker John Boehner, the public face of the Republican Party, is also very unpopular; 17 percent view him favorably, while 42 percent view him unfavorably.

By contrast, President Obama’s favorable/unfavorable rating stands at 47/41 percent, and the Democratic Party’s is 39/40.

“If it were not so bad for the country, the results could almost make a Democrat smile,” said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. “These numbers lead to one inescapable conclusion: The Republicans are not tone-deaf; they are stone-deaf.”

Maddow Blog’s Steve Benen illustrates the damage with this convenient chart:

Favorability Chart

Adding insult to injury for Republicans, the shutdown seems to have turned the public against its governing priorities — 38 percent now see the Affordable Care Act as a good idea, compared to 43 percent who see it as a bad idea; this is up from 31 to 44 percent last month. And 50 percent say that they oppose totally eliminating funding for the health care law, up from 46 percent who opposed such tactics in a September poll. In other words, it appears that the GOP’s drive to kill health care reform at all costs has actually made the law more popular.

Similarly, the poll finds that Americans now agree by a 52 to 44 percent margin that government should do more to solve problems,  up from a 48 to 48 percent split in June.

“That is an ideological boomerang,” McInturff said. “As the debate has been going on, if there is a break, there is a break against the Republican position.”

The poll contains one more clear warning sign for the Republican Party: On NBC/WSJ’s generic congressional ballot, respondents said that they would prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress over a Republican-controlled one by a 47 to 39 percent margin. That 8 percent advantage is up from just 3 percent last month.

The full results of the poll can be seen here.

AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan

Henry Decker

Henry Decker was formerly the Managing Editor of The National Memo. He is currently an Online Associate at MRCampaigns.

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  1. bcarreiro October 11, 2013

    ABOLISH CONGRESS …..and let individuals who are neutral and openminded to get the job done!!!!

    1. Tom_D44 October 12, 2013


    2. edwardw69 October 12, 2013

      Such as whom? Where are you going to find them? Mother Teresa is dead.

      1. Desire October 12, 2013

        Elizabeth Warren would be the best offer to help this Country then anyone I can think of` we don’t have to question whether or or not she;ll be just as honest in office we have already seen her in action..

        1. edwardw69 October 12, 2013

          I was assuming that bcarreiro was referring to a non-politician.

          1. plc97477 October 13, 2013

            he did mention abolishing congress which would lead one to think that.

        2. Lets_Think_Again October 13, 2013

          With Elizabeth Warren, indeed don’t have to question whether or or not she’ll be just as honest in office; we have already seen her in action.

    3. dancerboots October 13, 2013

      That isn’t going to happen…It takes a lot of knowledge on how the House and Senate work. We need the seasoned veterans of Congress especially the ones that do try to help the country…even though they do make mistakes on occasion. It is fine to work on bringing down the deficit that has already been cut in half…It is not okay to do it the GOTP way. It needs to be done sensibly and both party agendas at the table…and with negotiations/compromise with each side getting something they want..that is why we voted for them and why our vote should count.

  2. JD Mulvey October 11, 2013

    I think we’re seeing a really significant development here, even beyond the historically low marks the public is giving the Republicans in Congress.

    In the past, they often could claim something of a win because this kind of bridge-burning strategy has resulted in pulling down the other side’s numbers too. But that effect may have leveled off. The Republicans are not getting the cynicism about government to rub off on the President and the Democrats in quite the same way anymore.

    This latest manufactured crisis may have solidly put the question to the public: Do you still want to drown the government in the bathtub? By demonstrating the logical result of that line of nihilism, they may have pushed the public into finally answering “no.”

  3. Lynda Groom October 11, 2013

    Tell me please that there weren’t really republicans who believed they would not be blamed for what they caused? This entire exercise was a major waste of their time and our money.

    1. darkagesbegin October 12, 2013

      this is what defines the tea party republicans: even when polls said that if the government shut down it would be blamed on republicans, they are still shocked that that is what it occurred. they live in a bubble all their own, unable to see reality…

  4. Stuart October 12, 2013

    I’m starting to fantasize that the Tea Party is a black ops group run by the Democrats. What else could account for so quick a decline in Republican approval numbers? It certainly couldn’t be because of logical policy arguments.

    1. CrankyToo October 12, 2013

      Logical policy arguments? Only one of the words in that phrase exists in the Repugnican lexicon – “arguments”.

    2. nirodha October 13, 2013

      Stuart, I’ve speculated that Rafael Cruz is really on the Democrats’ payroll in a Machiavellian plot to discredit the TPotty and bring it down. I mean, he IS succeeding brilliantly at his mission!

  5. blyvl October 12, 2013

    I’m an “unenrolled” voter who usually votes Democrat, but I don’t think that Democrats should take a lot of pride in their numbers either. Rating slightly better than the GOP is nothing to be proud of.

    1. CrankyToo October 12, 2013

      I think you have to allow for the fact that 25% of respondents (plus or minus) are going to be anti-Democrat purely on the basis of “general principle”. Your garden variety country club conservative, Sunday school conservative, redneck, homophobe, xenophobe, and sundry other Fox Noise dumbass doesn’t have it within him/herself to ever vote against the fascist establishment.

      You might try to make the argument that one could say the same about a cadre of Democrats, but I think it’s safe to say that the hard-core Democrat population is significantly smaller in number – maybe even statistically insignificant by comparison. Democrats are, by and large, better educated, more intelligent and more socially diverse than Repugnicans and, thus, more reliable as reflections of reality (in my humble opinion).

      1. Lets_Think_Again October 13, 2013

        Your humble opinion is 100% correct.

      2. nirodha October 13, 2013

        Hey, Crankster, I think that you’re right on in your characterization of Democrats. However, living in Massachusetts, I can’t agree that the core population is statistically insignificant. Yeah, certainly in the sparsely-populated red states, but the blue states, while fewer in number, are more densely populated.

        1. CrankyToo October 13, 2013

          You’ll get no arguments from me on that score, Nirodha; Mass is a blue bastion for sure. The point I was trying to make is that, looking at the nation on the whole, there are vastly more hard-core, firmly entrenched, intractable, don’t-know-shit-and-don’t-care-to-know ideologues who will only pull the lever for the (R)s on their ballots than there are die-hard progressives who would never vote for an (R) under any circumstance.

          Of course, you and I both know that the hard-core Democrats are entirely justified, given the evil nature of Repugnican politicians these days. And by the way, I’m a Republican by affiliation (tho I couldn’t vote for one with a clear conscience.)

  6. RobertCHastings October 12, 2013

    The Koch brothers AND the Tea Party are backing away from this one, because they recognize it is a disastrous stance for them. If Boehner and the House Republicans continue the shutdown and do eventuate a default, where will they run for cover when the shit hits the fan?

    1. nirodha October 13, 2013

      The majority republicans will attempt to distance themselves from the TPotty and scapegoat them. That won’t work because Boehner and company stayed the TP course too long, AND the Kochs invented the TP, or certainly birthed it with their money. Inquiring minds will see through the attempted smokescreen.

      1. RobertCHastings October 13, 2013

        The Koch brothers have been behind big tobacco, the NRA and Alec since the 1980s, when they began developing the idea for the Tea Party, except that folks like Michelle Bachman don’t realize it. After the government kicked ass on Big Tobacco, the Koch Brothers used ALEC to develop legislation that protected Big T from further harm, and then went on (with the same legal team) in the late 1990s to insulate the firearm industry from the suits that were being undertaken by a dozen or so big cities (including Chicago and New Orleans and Philadelphia). We all know what happened as a result of that, and what is STILL happening with attempts to regulate firearms. Most Tea Partiers don’t have any idea they are just the puppets of the Koch brothers and ALEC. If inquiring minds see through all that, they will have to start explaining it to the people who don’t understand. “Outgunned” by Brown and Abel is an excellent explanation of the process.

        1. nirodha October 14, 2013

          Agreed! I would venture to say, given the general lack of in-depth knowledge of basic civics, current events and history, most TPers don’t even know who the Koch brothers are, and have never heard of them.

      2. plc97477 October 13, 2013

        It is going to be hard for the repugs to distance themselves from the t potty because they babied them for so long.

  7. howa4x October 12, 2013

    When you are only talking inside the bubble you think the entire country is behind your message. The right wing is surrounded by so many media personalities and blogs it never hears from anyone else. Just think of who is around them, FOX, which hosts Coulter,Hannity, Huckabee, and O’Reiley, Beck , and Limbaugh on radio, Palin floating around the air waves, Red State, Brietbart and the Drudge report Blogs and all the local radio jocks. All of these reinforce the same conservative message and it becomes an echo chamber. Then add in all the money and organizations like prosperity partners(Koch) the Heritage foundation, Freedom works, The Family research council, the NRA and 50 other ones..Add to that all the Evangelical outlets, and the Catholic bishops. They all feed into the same message. There is no counter message getting in. All these groups think they are wining the battle for the soul of America, and they are not, because they appeal to a shrinking base of older white people. This is why they can’t believe outside polls and think they are winning. This is mass delusion, and if someone doesn’t wake up the GOP will be on the loosing end of many more national elections to come. There are more groups allied against the republicans than for them, and the internal rhetoric is chasing away more than it’s attracting. In the next 5 years Texas will become a Blue state and then the curtain will come down on the GOP

    1. highpckts October 12, 2013

      The only reason the Koch brothers, etc., are backing down is because they see it will eventually hurt their bottom line on wall street! If they thought everything would be hunky dory money wise, they would be right out front yelling stand your ground!

      1. howa4x October 12, 2013

        I totally agree

    2. CrankyToo October 13, 2013

      Prescient analysis, indeed.

  8. july860 October 12, 2013

    You must forgive me in advance for any misspesllings or whatever. The first thing I see when i go online is bonehead stating that “every offer they threw out was turned down” so as to of course blame Obama. What were their offers? Oh, let’s see-cut Social Security and Medicaid????? I admit to not reading the story because I just go so angry when I read those words. How dare he? I am glad their “offer” was turned down, and that Obama continues to hold strong. Now, I’m going to check the weather, my personal e-mail, and maybe play some games until my head stops throbbing and my blood pressure goes down!

  9. terry b January 7, 2014

    Very well written as well as articulate and thoughtful. I couldn’t have done any better, possibly even worse. Thanks for standing up against the bad guys.


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