Polls Suggest That "Defund Obamacare or Shut Down the Government" Is a Solid Idea

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 23 2013 2:14 PM

Polls Suggest That "Defund Obamacare or Shut Down the Government" Is a Solid Idea

The conventional wisdom, according to Republicans both named and anonymous, is that the party's dinged-up "brand" will take yet more dents if the government shuts down. This is largely true: Voters assume Republicans are to blame if the government shuts down.

But if I'm a Republican who's straddling the fence right now, unsure of how much to anger the constituents of my gerrymandered district, I don't think the polls look all that bad. 

- CNBC's Hart-McInturff poll* finds that "in general, Americans oppose defunding Obamacare by a plurality of 44 percent to 38 percent." Funding Obamacare remains, for some reason, more popular than the very existence of Obamacare. But if you're starting with 38 percent of the country on your side, and if the number is likely higher in your district, you can see a path to victory.

Advertisement

- The Pew Research poll finds the public largely split on whom to blame for a shutdown if it happens—by a 3-point margin, it's ready to blame Republicans. When asked specifically if they back the House GOP plan to cut off Obamacare funding in order to fund the rest of government, 38 percent of all voters (again!) are on board. That's higher among independents—41 percent. And again, imagine what those numbers look like in Republican seats that are largely whiter and more rural than the rest of the country.

The killer number in this data, I guess, is the majority that opposes defunding "when the issue of shutting down the government and defaulting is included." But Republicans are only talking about fully defunding the law in the context of a shutdown. They're already trying to "compromise" with a one-year delay of the law in a debt limit deal.

*The pollster that often produces the very accurate WSJ polls.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

Should the United States Grant Asylum to Victims of Domestic Violence?

The Apple Watch Will Make Everyone Around You Just a Little Worse Off

This Was the First Object Ever Designed

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

Moneybox

How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us

A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest jewels.

Music

A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now …

The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.

Is Everyone Going to Declare Independence if Scotland Does It? 

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Trending News Channel
Sept. 12 2014 11:26 AM Identical Twins Aren’t Really Identical
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 14 2014 2:37 PM When Abuse Is Not Abuse Don’t expect Adrian Peterson to go to prison. In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM Olive Garden Has Been Committing a Culinary Crime Against Humanity
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 13 2014 8:38 AM “You’re More Than Just a Number” Goucher College goes transcript-free in admissions.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 12 2014 4:05 PM Life as an NFL Wife: “He's the Star. Keep Him Happy.”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 12 2014 5:55 PM “Do You Know What Porn Is?” Conversations with Dahlia Lithwick’s 11-year-old son.
  Arts
Music
Sept. 14 2014 11:44 PM A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now … The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 12 2014 3:53 PM We Need to Pass Legislation on Artificial Intelligence Early and Often
  Health & Science
New Scientist
Sept. 14 2014 8:38 AM Scientific Misconduct Should Be a Crime It’s as bad as fraud or theft, only potentially more dangerous.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 12 2014 4:36 PM “There’s No Tolerance for That” Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh say they don’t abide domestic abuse. So why do the Seahawks and 49ers have a combined six players accused of violence against women?