Conservative Republicans are mad as hell at the government (and what it means for the shutdown)

October 1, 2013

More than four in 10 conservative Republicans say they are "angry" at the federal government according to a new Pew Research Center poll, a number that goes a long way to explaining the approach GOP leaders in Congress took in the final hours before the government shut down at midnight Monday and why it might be a while before a deal is made to re-open things.


Mad. As. Hell.

The 41 percent of conservative Republicans who say they are "angry" at the government is far higher than any of the other ideological groups that Pew tested. It was also far higher than the 26 percent of all respondents who described themselves as angry.

Here's the full Pew chart:

Image courtesy of Pew
Image courtesy of Pew

The number to key in on is the huge disparity between conservative Republicans who say they are angry and liberal Democrats who say the same -- essentially a two-to-one margin tilting toward conservative GOPers. This isn't terribly surprising -- the political base of the party out of power is always more angry at the government than the political base of the party in power. (In October 2006, 44 percent of liberal Democrats were angry at the government as compared to 5 percent of conservative Republicans.)

Why then does the anger chasm matter so much in relation to the government shutdown? Because passion is the ultimate power in politics. Angry people vote. And contribute money. And show up at town hall meetings.

The Republican base is mad as hell at the federal government and by extension President Obama. The best course of action -- from a purely political perspective -- then is for Congressional Republicans to fight like hell for their priorities (defunding/delaying Obamacare). By doing so, they will be channeling the anger of their base, always a smart play in politics.

That same logic means that there isn't all that much incentive -- at least from the base of the party -- for Republicans to quickly cut a deal to re-start the government. And, if past is prologue, that means we won't get any sort of compromise in the near term.

Fixbits:

The shutdown is here. And here's what it means for federal workers.

The House Rules Committee signed off on creating on a conference committee for the CR debate. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said "we will not go to conference with a gun to our head."

Meanwhile, Obamacare is moving ahead.

CNN and NBC have scrapped plans for programs about former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

The DCCC bought GOPshutdown.com.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) called a Justice Department lawsuit against his state's new voting law  “overreach and without merit.”

A judge tossed out GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson’s defamation lawsuit against National Jewish Democratic Council.

Must-reads:

"Shutdown stalemate shows larger GOP dilemma: How to be a governing party" -- Dan Balz, Washington Post

"U.S. Capitol tour shows visitors the calm before the shutdown storm" -- David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post

"GOP 2016ers: Government shutdown no 'Souljah' moment" -- Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman, Politico

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Sean Sullivan | September 30, 2013