Poll: Americans reject GOP shutdown strategy

Olivier Knox
Yahoo News

Hours after the government officially lurched to a partial shutdown, a new poll released Tuesday showed Americans really aren’t crazy about Obamacare — but hate the Republican approach of closing the government in an effort to repeal it.

The Quinnipiac University national survey found that the public is split on the Affordable Care Act, with 47 percent opposed to it and 45 percent in favor. But Americans, by a lopsided 72-22 percent margin, say shutting down the government is not the answer.

Would the GOP fare better by refusing to raise the country’s debt ceiling to stop Obamacare? Not much: Americans oppose that approach 64-27 percent.

That’s likely to cheer the White House, which warns that failing to pay for programs Congress already has approved — the purpose of raising the debt limit — would trigger a default that would send shock waves through the fragile world economy.

How about cutting off funding needed to implement the law, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement? Americans oppose that 58–34 percent.

The survey confirmed what many Republicans have worried about for weeks: Shutting down the government may harm the GOP brand with independents and damage the party’s very real prospects for holding the House and retaking the Senate in the 2014 mid-term elections.

The poll found Republicans favor the shutdown by a 49-percent to 44-percent margin. But independents oppose it 74-19 percent, and Democrats reject it 90-6 percent.

It’s a national poll, and mid-term elections are decided district-by-district and state-by-state. There are still 13 months before voters cast their ballots.

But Quinnipiac found Democrats enjoy their largest edge yet over Republicans in a so-called “generic” ballot, 43 percent to 34 percent.

The West Wing might want to hold off on popping the champagne corks just yet. Only 45 percent of respondents said they approved of the job Obama’s doing, against 49 percent who disapprove.

How do congressional Republicans fare? Seventy-four percent disapprove of the job they are doing, their lowest score ever in the Quinnipiac poll. Democrats? Sixty percent disapproval, 32 percent approval.

And Obama isn’t popular — but he’s apparently blessed by his enemies. Here’s how he does against Republicans in Congress on several core issues:

- He’s up 47 percent-42 percent on handling the economy.

- He’s up 51 percent-38 percent on helping the middle class

- He’s up 63 percent-26 percent on helping low-income families.

- He’s up 47 percent-38 percent on handling health care.

- He’s statistically tied on the deficit, 43-percent-42 percent.

- Republicans have a slight edge on guns, 45 percent to 42 percent.

“On almost all questions, voters see President Obama as more reasonable, and better able to handle the issues,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “But it is not because the president is beloved.”

The poll had an error margin of plus or minus two percentage points.

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