Early Polling Shows GOP Fighting Uphill on Govt. Shutdown

Posted on October 1, 2013 by

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Quinnipiac University’s most recent polling results suggest Republicans will struggle to convince the American people the government shutdown is a good idea. Key findings include:

  • Americans oppose, 72-22%, the government shutdown in order to de-fund or delay Obamacare
  • Republican voters support the shutdown narrowly (49-44%), while Democrats (90-6%) and Independents (74-19%) oppose it overwhelmingly
  • In a generic congressional ballot, where voters are asked if they would prefer a Republican or Democrat to hold the seat, the Democrats have a 43-34% advantage. In their May 30 poll, Republicans and Democrats were tied on this question.

First, a grain of salt is advisable. The poll was conducted from 9/23-9/29, not all of which was during the hottest parts of the debate. It was also before the Republicans passed a series of resolutions that would fund government, all of which were rejected by Senate Democrats due to conditions related to Obamacare. How voters will respond to these more recent events, if at all, remains unclear.

Second, just because the American public expresses clear preferences does not mean Republicans are bound by them. This is why we are not a democracy, at least not purely. If GOP principles are fully engaged, they should not, in a way, care what the polls say. At the same time, they have to be aware of the political consequences.

My political concern, expressed in yesterdays post, is that Republicans lack some measure of political prudence, which is the ability to implement a principle in the most effective way possible given the context. We will see if I am right.

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