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POLL: Only Tea Partiers Want To Shut The Government Down Over Obamacare

Memo Pad Politics

POLL: Only Tea Partiers Want To Shut The Government Down Over Obamacare


A plurality of Americans oppose defunding Obamacare, but if it means shutting down the government or defaulting on the debt, a solid majority opposes defunding the health care law, according to a new poll from CNBC.

The poll of 800 Americans — conducted last week, before House Republicans passed a measure that keeps the government open while defunding the Affordable Care Act — found that 44 percent oppose defunding, while 38 percent are in favor. The opposition to defunding rises to 59 percent with only 19 percent supporting it if defunding requires a shutdown or default, with 22 percent unsure.

The one demographic in which a majority support defunding is — unsurprisingly — the Tea Party.

Of Republicans who identify with the movement, 54 percent say they support defunding even if it comes with a shutdown. However, a majority of Republicans in general, 51 percent, opposes defunding once it begins to affect the government’s ability to function.

Independents — who make up an increasingly large percentage of the voting population as the Republican Party shrinks — oppose defunding if it means a shutdown, by a 65-14 margin.

The complete CNBC All-America Economic Survey will be released later this week, but this poll frames the argument Republicans face as Congress considers its first government shutdown since the mid-1990s: America v. the Tea Party.

Despite these numbers, the far right feels as though they are — as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Charlie Sheen might say — “winning.”

Townhall.com‘s Kurt Schlichter published a post Monday morning called, “Could The GOP Actually Be About To Beat Obama?” He calls the House leadership’s decision to go along with Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) in defunding Obamacare an “unexpected display of competence on the part of the GOP leadership.”

He goes on to outline the long game of the plot to defund Obamacare:

Let’s let Obama be the one making seniors eat Alpo, not paying our soldiers, and depriving the art world of cowboy poetry slams. Yeah, eventually we’ll need to pass a bill that will keep Obamacare alive a little while longer. But we should do it reluctantly, sadly, loudly telling the American people how we tried to protect them but, darn it, Obama was going to make seniors eat Alpo, not pay our soldiers, and render America cowboy poetry slamless unless we relented – which we did, for the children.

Underlying this point of view is the belief that President Obama will be blamed for the missed paychecks and Social Security checks that come with a government shutdown. This doesn’t seem to be a belief shared by the House Republican leadership, at least according to the fourth-ranking Republican in the House, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK).

If the House GOP leadership does cave to overwhelming public opinion, it seems they’ll only upset the Tea Party, who make up a large proportion of the GOP primary voting population.

Photo: Fibonacci Blue via Flickr.com


  1. sigrid28 September 23, 2013

    Coincidentally, in the blend of today’s news, these poll results merge with an Internet “controversy” over Jeff Daniels’s performance in “The Newsroom” having won the Best Actor Emmy for a television drama rather xxxxx in “Breaking Bad,” even though the latter ran away an armful of with other Emmys, which was not that “bad.” Apparently the fans of “Breaking Bad” do not want any other series on television to receive any recognition at-all at-all while their mock heroic epic of a terminally ill chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin is still in the running. What does this character have in common with the Tea Party?

    1. Tom September 23, 2013

      Holy crap, you’re stupid. I’m as liberal as can be, but The Newsroom is just a bad show. It panders and has terrible writing. I am a bit embarrassed for you. Breaking Bad isn’t a show celebrating Walter White. It’s quite the opposite. It’s as moral as a TV show can be, moreso than The Newsroom which featured an episode exploiting the Giffords tragedy for ratings (and the episode was about not exploiting the Giffords tragedy for ratings). You are evidence that there still are some stupid liberals out there.

      1. charleo1 September 23, 2013

        Excuse me! Whenever a rebuttal starts out, “Holy crap, you’re stupid!”
        Then, professes to be, “As Liberal as I can be.” Well, you’re not as
        Liberal as you can be, and spout off like a T-Pot. If you had read
        Sigrid’s postings you would know, first, he is definitely, not stupid.
        And second, as Liberals, we’re very happy to let the radical, knuckle draggers on the Right, dish out the insults. Anyway, they’re better at
        it. Now, think back for a moment. How many times after you’ve called someone stupid, have they considered your opinion, then wrote you back, and said, “By golly you’re right? I’m guessing not often. I suggest next time you start your comment, “With all due respect to your take on the subject, I cannot agree, and here’s why. Or, like my comment to you. I appreciate your support of progressive goals, and your votes for public officials interested in moving the Country forward. But your lack of civil etiquette, and general bad form, reflects poorly on us Liberals everywhere.

      2. Lynda Groom September 23, 2013

        Its TV so relax. Ones views on TV shows is not a very reliable indicators of political ability.

      3. sigrid28 September 24, 2013

        You might not think I am so stupid if you knew that I, too, think “The Newsroom” is not all its cracked up to be in some quarters. What’s trivial and what is not: on “The Newsroom” that is the question, when the show hits its mark. I find that interesting, but the office intrigues and soap opera-like office romances are starting to bore me.

        You’ll notice I didn’t say I thought “Breaking Bad” was weak or inconsequential or undeserving of its awards and following. I said in my post that what holds our interest in “Breaking Bad” is a cavalcade desperation. Terminally ill, Walter White decides to enter the drug trade with the best of intentions, to provide for his family after his death–a noble goal. What follows, however, is self-inflicted misery for himself and almost everyone he encounters. The mayhem which audiences find so entertaining is purely gratuitous, in that it did not have to happen: Walter White’s desperation as it plays out is the drug that audiences are addicted to, like being unable to turn away from watching a pile up on the freeway.

        Likewise, I was saying, the Tea Party and lately Ted Cruz have tried to attract attention to their cause via desperate acts–or the threat of them–like forcing 30 million to lose health benefits by closing down Obamacare, like slowing the delivery of Social Security checks by closing down the government, like sending the Dow plunging and erasing money in 401K retirement accounts by refusing the raise the debt ceiling. It’s a political tactic designed to please the Tea Party base, where it seems as though the thinking goes something like this: Let’s make everyone feel as desperate as we do–to hell with the consequences. And just like the disasters that follow Walter White’s desperate decision on “Breaking Bad,” the Tea Party could selfishly bring down upon themselves and the rest of us a string of catastrophes that are completely avoidable and entirely of their own making.

        1. JSquercia September 24, 2013

          I wonder how many of thoseTea Partiers will be UPSET when THEIR Social Security check fails to arrive .It might just be a wakeup call to them that not ALL government is bad

          1. jnsgraphic September 24, 2013

            A government shutdown might be what it takes to get through to ignorant middle-class Republicans and TPUBs that don’t see the big picture and will finally realize all they wants is their vote. We need to somehow get through to the Republican middle-class who actually work for a living, but continue to vote Republican despite the fact that the policies being pursued by their party, will be just as damaging and detrimental to them as much as it is to Democratic working class. Let them learn the hard way… they are soon to be the Party(s) of the past!

          2. Landsende September 24, 2013

            Or when they see the loss their 401k’s and retirement accounts take because of the uncertainty of a possible government shutdown. It’s already affecting their accounts because of the uncertainty in the stock market. All they have to do is look back at their accounts the last time the teapublicans pulled this stunt to see how much they will lose and if the credit rating of the US government is downgraded again it will cost the government more to borrow thus increasing the deficit. But hey, they don’t care, they’re willing to tank the economy even though they don’t have a chance in hell of stopping the Afforable Care Act.

          3. InsideEye September 24, 2013

            Medicare and Social Security are paid for from earnings and therefore not entitlements as such, a it underfunded due to congress raiding the funds for stamps, etc.

        2. nirodha September 24, 2013

          This thought occurs to me: many of the TPers appear to be extreme right-wing evangelical christians, which means that they believe in the apocalypse and are waiting for the “end times”. This may be their deluded way of attempting to hasten that event.

    2. stcroixcarp September 24, 2013

      Thank you for your insight on DESPERATION AS A FORM OF ENTERTAINMENT.Great post.

      1. sigrid28 September 24, 2013

        You’re welcome. The insight came to me, actually, by watching a British film version of Shakespeare’s “Richard II” last week, so I cannot really take credit for it. (On weekends, PBS is running the whole history cycle in order. This week should be “Henry IV, Part 1.”) Richard II is a train wreck of a royal, whose failures prove to be a disaster for the English people. Talk about desperation as a form of entertainment! The country does not really right itself again until its triumph–and Shakespeare’s–in “Henry V.” If you are crazy enough (like l am) to put yourself through the paces of following this series, and you missed “Richard II,” the film is available for $3 rental via Mediacom’s On Demand.

  2. howa4x September 23, 2013

    The Tea party is pulling the GOP away from the rest of society and into a corner. The house leadership is caving into a minority of the voting public and is sacrificing the general election to win in the primary elections. This health care debacle coupled with the inability to pass immigration reform, cutting food stamps to the most vulnerable, and trying to preserve tax cuts for the uber wealthy show the House as being increasingly isolated from everybody else, and out of touch with the reality of the general electorate. If the GOP keeps following the lead of the tea party who are considered too extreme buy large sections of the population, it will eventually cease to be a national party and only exist regionally. If moderates in the party can’t take back control the GOP will be very far away from wining a national election for a very long time.

  3. Dominick Vila September 24, 2013

    I support most Democratic causes, and I support the Affordable Care Act 100%, but I believe it is disingenuous and counterproductive to believe that only a small segment of our population opposes ACA and is determined to shut the government down. The latest budget Bill passed by the House, with the support of ALL Republicans and two Democrats, would provide funding for ALL government programs, except for ACA. That legislation, regardless of how crass it may be, denies Democrats the right to claim the GOP – or the Tea Party – are determined to shut down the government. In fact, it is now up to us to provide an alternative to what the GOP proposed, or risk being blamed for the consequences of a government shutdown.
    Neither hysteria, distractions, nor bravado will change the fact that the GOP managed to come up with a Trojan Horse designed to destroy the Affordable Care Act by depriving it of the funds needed for it to function. The fact that government programs are funded by revenues which, conceivably, could be used to fund ACA regardless of what the GOP says, is a chimera when we consider that doing so would be unlawful since the budget Bill specifically singles out ACA as a non-recipient of Federal government funds.
    It is time for pragmatism and courage, not illusions.

    1. sigrid28 September 24, 2013

      Let’s just walk this through, Dominick–

      House Bill: Funds all government programs except ACA–It’s not a budget!

      Senate Bill: Funds all government programs (dropping ACA defund in an amendment with only 51 votes needed to pass)–It’s still not a budget!

      Now Senate Bill goes back to the House. What now? There is no time for a budget, so some kind of resolution to continue the current budget until a date in the future (CR)–It’s still not a budget!

      Will the Tea Party insist on failing to pass the CR in time in order to defund ACA or be governed by their better angels? Will their wealthy benefactors accept the losses shutting down the government will cause them? They have much more to lose than the senior citizen who doesn’t get his or her check. Why would they let their bought and paid for representatives and senators cavalierly upset their stockholders or send their interest income, which is in the millions, into a nose dive?

      Same goes for failing to raise the debt limit. The billionaires who pay for elections love their wealth too much to let commoners in the House cut it in half on a whim. In our system, donors get to pull the strings of elected officials, which might be the best thing for all of us this time.

      Finally, the Democrats have already offered a terrific alternative to the GOP version of the CR in the form of a budget that has been on the table for two years already.

      1. nirodha September 25, 2013

        As a trust fund, Social Security is separate from the budget (even though Bush2 raided it) and should not be affected if there is a government shutdown. However, Section 4 of the 14th Amendment constitutionally requires the payment of fiscal obligations of the federal government (debt service, payment to pensioners, etc.). As a constitutional lawyer, and our president, Obama is certainly well within his executive power to comply with 14 and authorize the continuation of such payments, regardless of anything to the contrary the increasingly unhinged TPotty lunatic fringe in the house tries to enact. Then when some right-wing nutcase tries to sue, let SCOTUS decide.

        1. sigrid28 September 25, 2013

          Thanks for the helpful correction on the Social Security issue and the constitutional alternative to raising the debt ceiling. My concern is, can SCOTUS be trusted? I suppose time would be on the nation’s side if the question were to be turned over to the Supreme Court, as that would take years. All of that time, the U.S. could avoid the financial crisis of default on our debts.

          1. nirodha September 25, 2013

            Most likely, SCOTUS would find that anyone bringing such a suit would lack standing to do so. As you point out, this process, if started, likely would drag on for years. Let us not forget that SCOTUS affirmed the constitutionality of the ACA.

    2. InsideEye September 24, 2013

      There are still the other 47% plus ,plus independents that do not like Obama care. A single payor system, similar to Medicare can work if paid for by EVERYONE,through a National sales tax dedicated for that purpose only.

  4. latebloomingrandma September 24, 2013

    Trying to defund the ACA is really an act to undermine and destroy democracy. The President won the first time by proposing to get a health care plan. He won the second time by passing it, and Romney lost by saying he would dismantle it. Both times Obama won with over 50% of the vote. This is democracy. You don’t get to throw a toddler-type temper tantrum and destroy the country by shutting down the government. What would be a good “timeout” for a grown man toddler?

    (It’s times like this that I secretly harbor the idea of the old public tar and feather thing, barbaric as it was).

    1. jnsgraphic September 24, 2013

      The #1 reason Republicans and do shush baggers don’t like Obamacare is because they can’t stand anything the President does that will be a success and prove them wrong. If they thought it was going to fail they wouldn’t be trying so hard to stop it.

  5. JSquercia September 24, 2013

    My main problem with the Obamacare is that while I applaude many of the mandates requiring Health Care companies to insure people with preexisting conditions be covered , allowing children to remain on parents policy until age 26 and removing the lifetime cap . They will obviously cost Insurance companies more money and in some cases could cause them to go bankrupt .What happens then ?
    This is why single payer provided by the government is a better alternative

    1. Allan Richardson September 24, 2013

      The point of the individual mandate is so that insurance companies will NOT go broke. The customer base for any insurance policy, also called the “risk pool,” should be a random mixture of those who will need to file lots of claims and those who will only need to file a few, maybe none, for each premium period.

      The ultimate mandate, single payer from everyone’s taxes (and EVERYBODY pays SOME taxes, directly or indirectly), with no profit incentive, would be even better (and would be condemned by the same Tea Party activists who are happy to have THEIR single payer Medicare). I for one am hoping that the ACA will be so much better for more people, and SAVE money overall, that when a well thought out single payer plan is proposed, America will respond more positively because of the gradual demise of the TP ideology. And that is PRECISELY why the TP want to abort its progress before more of us see the benefits for all of us.

      1. kiss September 24, 2013

        i wonder how many tea bag followers would be willing to “return” their social security checks, food stamps, medicare card, etc.?? Since Obamacare started they get free mammogram, no co-pay on doctor visits, xrays, welliness programs for preventive care, and much much more…yet the stand around yelling like they get nothing…frauds all of them.

        1. InsideEye September 24, 2013

          Medicare, Social security is earned by workers paying the bill. The problem other entitlements is that it is taken by non contributors from the working tax paying middle class.

      2. silence dogood September 24, 2013

        The ACA will be a train wreck on a train wreck. Dems will be tossed from the Senate in wholesale fashion come the first Tuesday of November 2014.

        1. Allan Richardson September 25, 2013

          In the Acts of the Apostles, the Sanhedrin is debating whether to try to stop the new Jesus movement, and they get some advice from Rabbi Gamaliel (the ONLY person quoted in both the New Testament and the Talmud). Gamaliel tells them that if this is “of man” it will fail by itself, but if it is “of God” they cannot stop it and will suffer by trying to stop it. Now, I know Obamacare IS NOT THE GOSPEL (nor is it from the Devil), but the ANALOGY would be: if you are SO SURE it will fail, why not LET IT FAIL without trying to stop it? No, the Tea Party is so sure it will NOT fail, they do not want to give it a CHANCE to succeed, because it will get them kicked out, just like the Congressmen who opposed Social Security and Medicare.

          The only way the ACA will be a “train wreck” is by Republicans tearing up the tracks, which is what they are doing. Listen to the wisdom of Gamaliel in this. No, don’t listen. So many people are going to be able to get insurance who cannot now get it, and those who STILL cannot will be stopped by the decisions their OWN STATES made to take it away from them, that the revisionists at Faux Nooz are going to be working overtime to “prove” that all the GOP candidates really were “for the ACA before they were against it before they were for it again.”

          How do you know when your TV is lying? When it’s tuned to Fox.

          1. silence dogood September 25, 2013

            Both social security and medicare passed with huge majorities as well as with significant bi partisan support. ACA passed by a single vote that Obama had to weasel down on.
            Not a single vote from Republicans.
            Your analysis is so far off it almost proves the opposite of the point you are trying to make.

          2. Allan Richardson September 25, 2013

            When Social Security and Medicare passed, the Republicans were, although conservative, reasonable, and by trading and negotiating, the consensus was reached. For example, Medicare was supposed to be for everyone, but Republicans and conservative Democrats talked it down to only seniors and then they voted for it.

            The very day this President was inaugurated, the Republicans held a secret meeting (which was made public later) in which they decided that their FIRST priority — ABOVE doing anything good for the nation — was to MAKE OBAMA FAIL. During the “negotiations” on the ACA, the administration gave in on EVERY point, and the Republicans gave in on NOTHING; so the final product was as little improvement on the status quo as possible, but BECAUSE the Republican strategy was to OPPOSE OBAMA regardless — if he said the sky was blue they would call him a liar and insist it was red — they all stuck together against the bill. And it was almost a carbon copy of ROMNEYCARE in Massachusetts.

            The point is, all the Republicans who voted against it voted against it because they did NOT want to give it a CHANCE to be liked or disliked for what it actually would DO. That is why the “death panels” LIES were made up. That is why the “red” states (or most of them) refused to help make it work, even though they have the LARGEST proportion of their populations that NEED ITS BENEFITS, and stand to lose the MOST by keeping poor people going to public hospital ERs. I am afraid, for example, that Georgia’s refusal to TAKE money to expand Medicaid is not only going to cause MANY DEATHS (of people you may not care about), but it could CLOSE the famous Grady Memorial Hospital.

            By the way, about 45,000 people a year are estimated to die from CURABLE diseases, for which their lack of insurance prevents their being cured. This is as many deaths as 15 attacks like 9/11 EVERY year. But of course, you probably think that only “subhuman” poor people die, and they do not count in your moral philosophy.

            I don’t know your religion, but if you claim to be Christian, read all of Matthew 25 and pray about what that means.

          3. silence dogood September 25, 2013

            Now you’re just making stuff up, including the “secret meeting” and what was said.
            RomneyCare is a disaster.
            ACA will fail for two reasons:
            1) Not only is it actuarially unsound, it is an actuarial disaster.
            2) Likely human behavior.

          4. Allan Richardson September 25, 2013

            Obamacare is actuarially sound WITH nearly universal participation, which is the purpose of the mandate. Without it, there may be a disaster, which is why the right wing tried so hard to get the mandate declared unconstitutional, and failed.

            We shall see, Gamaliel. And by the way, the leaked details of that secret meeting on Inauguration Night 2009 were reported on all the news media except Faux Nooz.

            If Obamacare is a disaster, then there is no hope for humanity to have a humane way to deliver health care. Republicans have not proposed anything other than “tax breaks” (what good will a tax break do to a minimum wage worker who is out of work?) and “savings accounts” (what if you get sick BEFORE you have the chance to save enough?) which will help some people who can afford the health care in the first place to save a small part of the cost. Oh, and the Bush “Medicare drug plan” which did not even ALLOW Medicare to negotiate lower prices as the VA does.

            Obamacare, or something better, is the MORALLY right thing to do as a society, EVEN IF it costs more. But the experience of all the other advanced industrial democracies (and a few that are not democracies as well) is that it WORKS BETTER and COSTS LESS. Like the light beer ads. Of course, for an oligarchy that does not CARE how many “peasants” suffer and die (and in their view, you and I are considered peasants), the status quo before Medicare was just fine.

  6. moderationpreferred September 24, 2013

    The Tea Party as usual is over emotional and irrational. They seem to have no ability to actually think anything through just go on having a foaming at the mouth, obscenity laden tirade at anything or anyone that disagrees with them. They would rather cause harm even to many of the poor fools who believe as they do than actually use their brains and work together (like our Congress is supposed to have the intelligence to do) for the betterment of ALL Americans.

    When are the more mainstream (read Intelligent) Republicans going to get their act together and kick these idiots out? They are a fringe group with no more worth than any religious cult.


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