Polls: Everybody Lost Budget Fight, Some Call it "Bullshit"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 12 2011 8:27 AM

Polls: Everybody Lost Budget Fight, Some Call it "Bullshit"

I said before and after a deal was cut on the budget that Republicans would benefit if some agreement was hammered out. Past was prologue, and most people expected them to be at fault for shutting down the government -- despite months of effective GOP messaging, chiding the media for having the audacity to read back quotes from Mike Pence and Lynn Westmoreland .

CNN's poll contradicts that, but only somewhat. Before Friday, 37 percent of voters were saying they'd blame Republicans if the government shut down, and 40 percent were saying they'd blame Obama or Democrats. Now:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Advertisement

So the Democrats mostly won, according to CNN. They might have won less in the long run than they would have if Republicans had followed the script and shut down the government. But on balance, a good day for Democrats... unless you look at Pew, which finds that the country didn't know why the hell the government came to the brink of collapse.*

Solid majorities say all four principal players – GOP leaders, Democratic leaders, Obama and Tea Party-affiliated representatives – deserve at least some blame for the budget dispute. Much smaller percentages say each deserves no blame: 23% Tea Party representatives; 22% Obama; 12% GOP leaders; and 11% Democratic leaders.

Opinions about how much blame the participants deserve changed after the agreement was concluded. In interviewing conducted prior to the deal (April 7-8), 58% said that Tea Party representatives would deserve either a lot or some blame if the government shut down. In polling conducted April 9-10, the number saying Tea Party representatives deserve a least some blame for the dispute jumped to 72%.

More also blamed Obama and Democratic leaders after the agreement than before it. In early interviewing, 66% said that Obama would deserve at least some blame for a possible government shutdown; after the agreement 79% expressed that view. Blame for Democratic leaders rose 10 points (from 77% to 87%) after the budget deal.

No one gets political capital from the deal, but the GOP doesn't lose any more than the Democrats do. That's important because of what the fight was about -- a consensus that the government needed to agree to austerity measures.

This Pew result deserves more attention, too:

*I know, not really, but you should watch TV news sometimes.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 8:15 AM Ted Cruz Will Not Join a Protest of "The Death of Klinghoffer" After All
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 9:03 AM My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. And Then I Found Myself With Someone Like Dad.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 8:27 AM Only Science Fiction Can Save Us! What sci-fi gets wrong about income inequality.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 7:30 AM Ring Around the Rainbow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.