Shutdown Polling Terrible for GOP, as Party Pivots to Obamacare

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 22 2013 8:36 AM

Shutdown Polling Terrible for GOP, as Party Pivots to Obamacare

Those unloved men and women who make up the Republican "establishment" warned against shutting down the government or using the continuing resolution to defund Obamacare. It wasn't that they were falling madly in love with the socialist takeover of our health care; it was because they expected the rollout of healthcare.gov to turn into a goat rodeo, and they feared a shutdown would distract from this.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

They were right. Among the disaster points for Republicans in the latest tranche of the ABC/WaPo poll:

- By a 24-point margin (53–29), voters blame Republicans, not the president, for the shutdown. That's about even with the numbers vis-à-vis Bill Clinton and Republicans after the last shutdown, although at least the Gingrich-Dole regime had some idea of what policy changes it wanted to win next.

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- By an 11-point margin (49–38), voters say they'd prefer to vote for a Democratic candidate for Congress in 2014. Generally speaking, the Democrats need to win the popular vote for the House by 6–8 points if they want to win control. 

- A majority of people, 54 percent, say they agree with Obama and the debt limit should "not be used as a tool in budget negotiations."

All bad news, but hey, at least the squishes are being proved right. Also in the Washington Post today:

- An editorial tut-tutting the rollout of healthcare.gov, advising that "the administration is not going to restore confidence through secrecy and damage control."

- A Dana Milbank column mocking the president's press appearance about same.

- A plaintive item by Greg Sargent arguing that Americans still want to give Obamacare a chance.

Here we go—it's the debate Republicans should have been having two weeks ago, as they argued that these glitches made the one-year delay of the individual mandate not just popular but necessary.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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