Fox News Poll Suggests That GOP May Not Be Completely Winning Shutdown Fight

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 3 2013 7:08 PM

Fox News Poll Suggests That GOP May Not Be Completely Winning Shutdown Fight

It was sort of lost in a swirl of similar rotten news for the Obama administration, but the last Fox News poll, represented an Obama nadir. At the close of the Syria escapade, Barack Obama's approval rating had crashed to 40 percent—by a 14-point margin, voters viewed his job performance negatively.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.

The new Fox News poll is another story. There's an obvious lede, with fantastic news for Republicans.

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Several provisions of the health care law have already been delayed. Setting aside how you feel about the law, do you think implementation of it should be delayed for a year until more details are ironed out, or not?
Yes - 57%
No - 39%

Hey, that's the GOP's current message, complete with the "since Obama has already delayed part of it" preamble.

But the rest of the poll shines for the Democrats. Obama's approval has ticked up to 45 percent, with 49 percent disapproval, a 10-point shrinking of the negative margin. Congress's approval number has sunk to its lowest level since the failure of the "supercommittee"—down from 17–75 to 13–81, minus 58 to minus 68.

There's more:

- A bounce in Obama's approval rating on health care, from 38–58 to 45–51. (This is the highest Obama number since before the 2012 election.)

- A tumble in the GOP's favorable rating to 35–59, with 59 percent unfavorable marking the highest level in the history of the poll. (The Democrats' numbers mirror Obama's.)

- John Boehner overtaking Harry Reid as the least popular congressional leader. Their last ratings, respectively: -18, -21. The new ratings: -22, -13.

- A 9-point drop in the percentage of people wanting full repeal of Obamacare, down on 30 from 39.

- A 53–41 margin in favor of keeping the law, versus repealing it.

Honestly, the second-best number for Republicans is a 42–32 margin on the question of whom to blame for the shutdown. I see some proof, here, of the theory that a tightly messaged "we just want to delay the law" theme can work. But week one of the shutdown has cut hard against the GOP, in this poll.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.